The first baby Griffon Vulture born in the Balkan Mountains was called Michel

The first baby Griffon Vulture born in the Balkan Mountains was called Michel

Baby Michel is the very first Griffon Vulture, hatched into the wild from parents, released within the Vultures Return in Bulgaria LIFE08 NAT/BG/278 Project. Its appearance in the Vrachanski Balkan Mountains comes only five years after the very first vulture releases in the Balkan Mountains, inspired and based on the success of our colleagues working in the Alps. The restoration programme in Bulgaria is carried out by Green Balkans, the Fund for Wild Flora and Fauna and the Birds of Prey Protection Society.

A pharmacist by training, Michel Terrasse developed an early interest in protecting birds. Born in 1938, he has devoted most of his life to the restoration of vultures, which had gotten extinct from the French Mountains. The years of efforts gained impressive success and today, as a result of the work of Michel and other vulture experts, the Alps are re-inhabited by not only Griffon, but also Black and Bearded Vultures. Despite the fact that their populations are already considered stable, the experts continue to work on their conservation, sharing their experience and helping their restoration in other parts of Europe and the world.

Michel and his colleagues – Dr. Hans Frey, Wolfgang Fremuth, Juan Sanchez-Artes, Raphael Neouze, Richard Zink, Ewelyn Tewes, Dr. Alex Llopis, Alvaro Camina, among others, are a huge inspiration for our team. Some of these experts visited Bulgaria to assess the conditions and capacity of our country to implement vulture reintroduction programmes and believed in our dream to restore vulture populations. It is a huge honour for us to work with these people and in an environment, where borders do not matter. We are also very grateful to the Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS) and DBU, who supported our very first steps ten years ago and became an integral part of vultures return to Bulgaria.

We would like to once again thank all our colleagues, experts and friends, who made this possible.

And to baby Michel, we wish the health, luck and longevity of Terrasse!