A wonderful small movie about vultures was produced recently by our partner Rewilding Rhodopes, as part of the LIFE Re Vultures project “Conservation of Black and Griffon vultures in the cross-border Rhodope Mountains”.
This project, funded by the EU LIFE programme, is led by Rewilding Europe in partnership with Rewilding Rhodopes Foundation, Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds/Birdlife Bulgaria, WWF Greece, Vulture Conservation Foundation and Hellenic Ornithological Society/BirdLife Greece, and aims to recover and further expand the black and griffon vulture populations in this part of the Balkans, mainly by improving natural prey availability and reducing mortality factors such as poaching, poisoning and electrocution and collision with power lines.
The project includes tagging of vultures to study their dispersal and movements – so far 19 griffon vultures and 23 black vultures have been tagged; increase of their food availability through releases of wild ungulates – so far 108 deer (47 red and 71 fallow deer) have been reintroduced into the wild; creating a trained dog unit to locate poison baits – this has been also accomplished – you have seen Bars the superstar in the film; environmental education actions; support for local businesses linked to vulture watching; support of related local products; and insulating power line poles and mounting bird diverters to avoid collision. In this project, the VCF is doing an evaluation of the poisoning situation in Greece-Bulgaria and has already organized an international workshop on supplementary feeding strategies for vultures, among other actions.
The cross-border Rhodope Mountains are a unique landscape, with a very high biodiversity and several important Natura 2000 sites. Black vultures that breed in Greece forage in Bulgaria and griffon vultures that breed in Bulgaria feed in Greece. The area is also used by immature and non-breeding griffon vultures coming from Croatia and Serbia. The project also will deliver transboundary cooperation between experts and organisations from different countries.