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Historical for nature conservation  - the first release of a black vulture in Bulgaria

Historical for nature conservation - the first release of a black vulture in Bulgaria

26.07.2018
The vultures Boyan, Riga and Ostrava are the first Black vultures to be released into the wild in Bulgaria.
The birds will arrive on 24.07.2018 and will be released on 25.07.2018.

The three birds are donation by two European zoos – one of the birds will come from the zoo Ostrava in the Czech Republic and the other one from the zoo in Riga, Latvia, from where we are expecting another one bird in the beginning of August.
Both zoos are member of the European Endangered species program for this species which is run by the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA).The objective of this coordinated breeding program is to maintain a healthy and diverse back up population in zoos and to give nestlings for reintroduction projects.



The vultures were bred in captivity and will be released into the wild in Bulgaria as part of the reintroduction program for the species, which has gone extinct as nesting species in Bulgaria.

One of the birds will be named after the famous Bulgarian alpine climber and biologist – Boyan Petrov. Boyan Petrov was dedicated to the nature conservation and was a supporter of multiple environmental causes. The team of Green Balkans from the “Bright future for the Black vulture“ project was given a promise by him to participate as the face of the campaign for the arrival of the first Black vultures in Bulgaria... Unfortunately this couldn't be realized after he disappeared in his attempt to summit Shisha Pangma. This is the reason we decided to name one of the birds after Boyan Petrov and also the members of his family will be invited to attend the arrival of the bird. The other two birds are named after the two zoos, which are donators of the birds – the zoos in Ostrava and Riga.

After they arrive in Bulgaria the birds will be tarnsported and housed in the adaptation aviary in Eastern Balkan mountains. There they will be regularly fed and monitored from a distance without meeting people to adapt to the area and the wild nature and after they become ready they will leave the platform (the so called hack) on their own.
The three young birds will be tagged with satellite transmitters, which will enable tracking their movement into the wild. We hope they will successfully adapt to the their natural environment as the life in the wild is full of threats for the birds hatched in zoos. The team of “Bright future for the Black vulture” will regilarly inform you about the behaviour of the birds in the hack and after they leave it, hoping that these pioneers of the reintroduction of the species will overcome the fight for their survival into the wild and will successfully adapt to their natural environment.

The reintroduction of extinct species of animals from our nature is a long term and difficilt process. The reintroduction of vulture population in other European countries has taken decades. The team of Green Balkans, the Fund for wild flora and fauna and the Bulgarian society for protection of birds of prey has been working for more than 15 years and as a result managed to recover the population of Griffon vulture in the region from which it has gone extinct – the Kresna gorge and Balkan mountains. The activity is part of an international project implemented in partnership with the organizations Vulture Conservation Foundation (VCF) from the Netherlands, Junta de Extremadura from Spain and Euronatur from Germany.

The next aim of the joint team and of the colleagues from Spain and Germany was the reintroduction of the nesting population of the Black vulture which hasn't nested in Bulgaria since decades. For this purpose the team has been working for years for the enhancement of the conditions and elemination of the threats for the species. The vultures are extremely useful birds, which serve as scavengers of the nature. Totally eliminating the corpses of domestic animals, they save millions of money to the econiomy and the private owners, replacing the need to transport the corpses to the two available incinerators in Bulgaria – in Shumen and Varna and faciliates their work.

Elena Stoeva, "Bright future for the Black vulture”project LIFE14 NAT/BG/649, Project manager
mobile phone: 0887574699, e-mail: etilova@greenbalkans.org