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.
Tag: griffon vulture
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.
A further ten inspiring rewilding initiatives have joined the European Rewilding Network since the official launch of the network at WILD10 in Spain, on October 9, 2013. Right now, the European Rewilding Network comprises of thirty members and a number of further local initiatives in several more countries are lining up to join. Members have also begun to exchange expertise and best practices on rewilding issues directly with each other. The first experience-sharing event in which all members are warmly welcomed to participate will take place in April.
The Faia Brava Reserve, on the Portuguese side of the Western Iberia rewilding area, offers some of the best vulture watching opportunities in Europe. The newly opened Vulture hide here offers to the visitor fantastic opportunities to see and enjoy these huge raptors at point-blank range.