Volen Arkumarev, a conservation officer with the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds (BSPB), is working on the LIFE Vultures project. He recounts a record breaking griffon vulture monitoring session in the Rhodope Mountains.
Tag: griffon vulture
This summer, seven griffon vultures – four adults and three young – were fitted with satellite transmitters in the breeding colony near Madzarhovo in the Bulgarian Rhodope Mountains. The first interesting results about their movements are already being revealed, with one young bird undertaking a long journey to the southeast. The vulture flew across two continents and six countries, and is still exploring the hot Middle Eastern territories.
Just after we officially launched the first Anti-Poison Dog Unit last week, Bulgaria witnessed a serious new case of poisoning in the Eastern Rhodopes close to the Greek border. In just a few days time, seven wolves, five shepherd dogs, one wild boar, two foxes, one hedgehog and one stone marten were found near a poisoned bait. A griffon vulture was also considered as a casualty of poisoning.
This summer, Nikolay Terziev from the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds (BSPB) spent nearly two months in Hungary where he was trained as dog handler for the first Antipoison Dog Unit in Bulgaria. The main objective of the Unit is to create poison-free areas by controlling and removing poisoned baits before they can cause damage.
Last Friday, the Life project “Conservation of Black and Griffon vultures in the cross-border Rhodope Mountains” held its opening ceremony during the International Vulture Awareness Day celebration in Bulgaria. The project focuses on the recovery and further expansion of black and griffon vulture populations in this part of the Balkan region, simultaneously developing nature based tourism thus providing long-term benefits for the local communities.
This March the first griffon vulture chick hatched in the Studen Kladenets Natura 2000 site, located in the core of the Rhodope Mountains rewilding area. With spring in full rise, more chicks will hatch in the coming weeks continuing the positive trend in the griffon vulture population in Bulgaria.
On our cycle tour of rewilding areas in Europe, our second stop was Muntanya d’Alinyà, a living mountain in the Catalan Pre-Pyrenees. Muntanya d’Alinyà is one of the largest private nature reserves in Spain and member of the European Rewilding Network (ERN).
75, a record high number of griffon vulture pairs was registered in the Eastern Rhodopes within the regular monitoring of the species. The Rhodope Mountains rewilding area is the only breeding area of the indigenous griffon vulture population in Bulgaria.
“The Eastern Rhodopes are one of the most beautiful places in Europe! You will see!” Frank Zanderink told me, when I was preparing for my internship. Frank Zanderink is the “students’ broker” for Rewilding Europe. I agreed with him silently in my mind when for the first time in my life I saw the beautiful Eastern Rhodopes.
Rewilding Europe shares the concerns of the Vulture Conservation Foundation and BirdLife International that Europe’s vultures are now at extremely high risk. Rewilding Europe supports their efforts for banning veterinary diclofenac in Europe. Both organizations have sent to the EU Commission and the EU member states a formal request for them to start a Referral procedure for a withdrawal of marketing authorization of veterinary diclofenac under Article 35 of Directive 2001/82/EC, based on its risks for vulture populations in Europe.