Vultures INDEED return! First successful breeding of griffon vulture in the Central Balkan Mountains for more than 70 years!

Hard work usually pays off – indeed, one of those  joyful momentous of reward was felt yesterday throughout the offices of several conservation organizations in Bulgaria and further afield, when the news that a wild griffon vulture chick had hatched from a nest in Stara Planina, the first breeding in the wild for almost a century.

The discovery was made from Georgi Stoyanov from the Bulgarian Society for Protection of Birds of Prey (BPPS), when he observed a small chick in a well-hidden nest.  Its parents, both wind-tagged, are birds that had been released locally within the Vultures Return in Bulgaria LIFE08 NAT/BG/278 Project, and comes after a lot of hard work, that started a decade ago, with the first feasibility studies for the reintroduction of the species in the Central Balkan mountains, where they had disappeared many decades ago, followed by assessment of threats and food availability, and the intense contacts with local people and institutions to develop a project. When LIFE (and the Frankfurt Zoological Society FZS, and the German Federal Environmental Foundation DBU). decided to fund such an effort, the implementation of a dream began, through a project led by the Bulgarian NGO Green Balkans, with BPPS, and the Fund for Wild Fauna and Flora (FWFF-Bulgaria), with support from the Vulture Conservation Foundation (VCF) and the Bulgarian Ministry for Environment and Waters – the project aimed to restore the population of this species in the Bulgarian Balkan range, linking this population with colonies in Serbia, Croatia and southern Bulgaria/Greece, while at the same time reducing the threat of poisoning, provisioning of food through supplementary feeding sites, and monitoring.

During the last 6 years more than 200 griffon vultures, mostly from Spain were released (many transported by the VCF), some in Vrachanski Balkan, which quickly became a favourite feeding and roosting place for vultures. The first breeding attempt was seen last year, and this year at least 5 pairs were building nests, a promising sign since most of the 200 griffons released were juveniles, and they only start to when they reach four years. Now we know that at least one produced a young!

The Vultures Return project fulfilled its promise. Well done to all the colleagues who have worked so far for this dream!

For more information, please contact:
Elena Kmetova
Vultures Return in Bulgaria
Phone: + 359 885 219 557; ekmetova@greenbalkans.org



 

 

 

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