Successful marking of the second chick of Cinereous vulture in Bulgaria from the new history of the species in the country


Meet Ponora – the Cinereous Vulture chick, bred by the first successfully nesting pair of the species in the Western Balkan Mountains in more than 60-70 years.

On the 90th day of its hatching, Ponora was marked with a metal and colored ring and a satellite transmitter. The young bird is expected to leave its nest within a month, which will mark the final return of the species in this part of the country and will reaffirm its recovery several decades after it was declared extinct in Bulgaria.

Ponora‘s parents are Kutelka and Vrachanski Balkan, who were released under the project „Bright Future for the Black Vulture“ LIFE14NAT/BG/649, co-financed by the EU LIFE program. This is very first pair which builds its own natural nest instead to use artificial one.

We remind you that this is the second chick bred in Bulgaria from the reintroduced Cinereous vultures in the Balkan Mountains and Bulgaria, after the success of the parents Kamchia and Balkan, who successfully raised Michev-Boev in Kotel last 2021.

The release of Cinereous vultures in Bulgaria to restore the species in the country began in 2018 at the initiative of a consortium of organizations - Green Balkans, Fund for Wild Flora & Fauna and the Birds of Prey Protection Society, as well as international organizations such as the Vulture Conservation Foundation, Euronatur, the Government of Extremadura, and with the support of the Nature parks "Vrachanski Balkan" and "Sinite kamani". Four years later, the species has already been restored as breeding in the country, successfully nesting in the Eastern and Western Balkan Mountains and the two nuclei number more than 20 birds and 3-5 formed pairs each.

The name of the vulture was given by Georgi Stoyanov from the Birds for Prey Protection Society, who is the main initiator and actor for the return of vultures in the Vrachanski Balkan and Western Balkan Mountains for more than 20 years. "I want the name to be neutral, but also dedicated to this beautiful area of Bulgaria - Ponor SPA", said Georgi Stoyanov in a burst of joy and a voice expressing excitement at the success, while holding the young bird in his hands when ringing.

"It's very big - it's certainly female and well-fed," said Hristo Peshev from FWFF as he set up Ponora's satellite transmitter.

„It’s almost fully grown and is lovely” said Miroslav Enev from the Association of the arborists in Bulgaria and his wife Rumyana, which took part in the marking the chick. Miroslav Enev and his team have placed more than artificial nests for Cinereous Vulture – 3 of them already occupied by breeding pairs.

"The restoration of the Cinereous vulture in Bulgaria and the Balkan Mountains is not only a national but also an international success, because the species was almost completely extinct in the Balkans - until recently only one colony remained in Dadia-Lefkimi-Soufli Forest National Park in Greece," said the project leader Ivelin Ivanov from Green Balkans.

Bulgaria is now only the fifth country in the EU in which the species breeds - after Spain, France, Portugal and Greece. We hope that Ponora will have a long life and will be able to create its own generation in the wild of Bulgaria in years to come.

Text: FWFF
Pictures: Georgy Stoyanov (BPPS), Alexander Manuilov (FWFF)

Additional information:
Georgi Stoyanov - "Vratsa Balkan" Coordinator field activities under the project "Bright future for the black vulture, LIFE14/NAT/BG/649,
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