Elitsa Kapushev is a Bulgarian student at the University of Berlin. Visiting an Iranian summer school focused on the environment in August, she chose to present the work of the Rewilding Rhodopes team.
With its breathtaking images of vultures and other wild nature, the “Lords of the Rhodopean Skies” exhibition thrilled attendees in three Bulgarian cities and raised the profile of the ongoing rewilding initiative in the Rhodope Mountains.
By helping to establish a stable population of deer in the area, the reintroduction will boost biodiversity through natural grazing, help scavenging species such as vultures by increasing the availability of carrion, and raise the profile of the Rhodope Mountains as a prime nature tourism destination.
Reintroduced as part of the LIFE Vultures project, the seven animals will hopefully complete the creation of a stable red deer population in the area. This population will provide an important food source for local scavengers and predators, as well as boosting biodiversity through their grazing.
This year’s final European Rewilding Network webinar, held in December, saw members from eight European countries come together online to discuss and learn the importance of leaving carrion in nature.
ARK Nature’s Circle of Life project, which aims to increase the availability of carrion in nature, began life as a groundbreaking way of helping endangered scavengers in the Netherlands. Rewilding Europe, which has already adopted the Circle of Life approach in its rewilding areas (by enabling wildlife comeback and reintroducing herbivores), is now working to scale up the project across Europe by promoting best practice, fostering dialogue and encouraging collaboration.
The birds, tagged with GPS transmitters in Dadia National Park in Greece, will offer additional insight into black vulture behaviour and movement on and around the Balkan Peninsula. By supporting conservation measures, this will hopefully reinforce the comeback of this magnificent yet endangered species.
As part of the ongoing LIFE Vultures project, a growing number of griffon and black vultures in and around the Rhodope Mountains rewilding area are being tagged with GPS transmitters. The geospatial data these transmitters provide will be critical to the comeback of these magnificent yet endangered birds.