The first chick of Cinereous Vulture hatched in the wild in Bulgaria for decades was successfully ringed in the nest


Meet MITCHEV-BOEV – this is the name of the first juvenile Cinereous Vulture hatched in Bulgaria for the last nearly 30 years and the first in Balkan Mountains for more than half a century. In the end of July 2021, the Vultures back to LIFE project team ringed the chick in its nest with standard ornithological and color plastic ring, as well as tagged it with GPS transmitter to follow its whereabouts after fledging. It is now 78 days old, weights 5.600 kg and is named after the Bulgarian ornithologists and nature conservationists Tanyo Mitchev and Nikolay Boev, who were the first to publish an article proposing reintroduction of the species in the country still back in 1980 – some tens of years after the species was considered locally extinct. This article and the authors themselves inspired most of the current day’s actors in the field of vultures’ conservation in Bulgaria and the ones that initiated and implement the reintroduction of the Cinereous Vulture in BalkanMountains.

So, this is a fact – the Cinereous Vulture reproduces again in 2021 in Bulgaria after 28 years from the last known nest and more than 60 years the species was
considered locally extinct. Four nests – three in Eastern Balkan Mountain (one more just recently discovered) and one in Vrachanski Balkan were registered in Bulgaria in 2021, following releases of 43 individuals (most coming from Spain, but some also from European Zoos) to reintroduce the species started in 2018. Five pairs are known to have been formed from the released birds – most of them are still young and just now try to find partners and build nests.

This success is just part of a long-term and complex conservation and restoration activities for the vultures and their habitats in Balkan Mountains in Bulgaria. Still since the beginning of 21 century the activities include reintroduction of the Griffon Vulture (to restore its population, but also to serve as proxy species for the Cienreous Vulture), restoration of the extensive livestock breeding, e.g. sheep and cattle grazing and transhumance (on itself a complex programme involving:possession and management of strategically placed farms, rearing of large herds, improving grasslands and farming practices, support of local farmers by restoration of livestock watering places etc.), reintroduction of the souslik (Spermophilus cittelus) in grasslands and Fallow Deer (Dama dama) in agri-forest landscapes as part of the food chain, minimizing the conflict of man and predators (wolf, jackal, bear), public awareness raising and education etc.

Several local and international organizations are involved and brought this story to a success – Green Balkans (, Fund for Wild Flora & Fauna (, Birds of Prey Protection Society (, Vulture Conservation Foundation (, EuroNatur ( and the Junta de Extremadura  ( – all partnering within the Vultures Back to LIFE project LIFE14NAT/BG/649 that is co-financed by the European Commission ( Some of the FWFF’s activities in the Project are financially supported by the Bioparc Zoo de Doue, France (, Le Parc Animalier Sainte Croix, France ( and Tierpark Gorlitz (https://www.tierpark-

Source of news and photographs: FWFF

Emiliyan Stoynov – Fund for the Wild Flora and Fauna Coordinator
Mob.Number: +359878 573841, email:

The activities for the reintroduction of the Black Vulture are implemented within: