Exchanging LIFE projects experiences in Bulgaria


Associates and volunteers of PannonEagle LIFE project paid a visit to the two, most experienced Bulgarian organizations, which work with raptors.

The main purpose of the visit on the one hand was to get a first-hand information about ongoing and already finished Life projects aiming birds of prey protection, and on the other hand to tell the Bulgarian colleagues about the objectives and achieved results of our HELICON (LIFE10NAT/HU/000019) and PannonEagle (LIFE15NAT/HU/000902) projects.

After being welcomed by BSPB’s associates in Haskovo, the Hungarian experts were hosted there between June 28 and 29. The main aim of the visit was the meeting of dog handlers of both organizations, since the Bulgarian handler received his training in Hungary with the help of MME in 2016 within the framework of LIFE RE-Vultures project (LIFE14 NAT/NL/000901). In addition, Stoycho Stoychev, the BSPB’s Conservation Director also shared information about the “Life for Safe Grid" (LIFE12NAT/BG/000572) and “Land for Life” (LIFE14 NAT/BG/001119) projects aimed to protect Imperial Eagles through mitigating measures to reduce electrocution fatalities.

On the second day of the visit, the Hungarian team had a chance to see the Bulgarian canine team in action, and was delighted to see how much “Bars” the German Shepherd, handled by Nikolay Terziev, has improved since last year.

„Bars” means snowleopard in Bulgarian (Photo: Márton Horváth)

Subsequently, the Hungarian team moved on to Turkey following the invitation of the Ministry of Forest and Water Management (report will be soon available).

Between July 12 and 13, the Green Balkans nature conservation organization hosted the Hungarian experts. In Levka, they visited The Demonstration and Information Centre, and listened to a presentation about the Lesser Kestrel Recovery LIFE project (LIFE11 NAT/BG/360).

Project staff of BirdLife Hugary, Hortobágy National Park, BirdLife Austria
and Green Balkans in front of the Lesser Kestrel Centre

One of the Lesser Kestrels fledged in the facility (Photo: Márton Horváth).

Simeon Marin shows the nest boxes and explains how the camera system works (Photo: Márton Horváth).

They also visited an Imperial Eagle nest site close to Levka. (Photo: Márton Horváth).

The next day, the team went to the Wildlife Rehabilitation and Breeding centre in Stara Zagora, where vultures also have been bred in captivity, along with Lesser Kestrels, for other Life projects on vultures. For the Vultures Return in Bulgaria (LIFE08 NAT/BG/000278) Life project, which aimed and succeeded in restoring populations of Griffon Vultures, and the Bright Future for Black Vulture (LIFE14 NAT/BG/649) LIFE project injured vultures are being kept here for future breeding in captivity. Experiments have been made to breed Imperial Eagles as well, however, so far without any success similarly to what happened in Hungary.

The Wildlife Rehabilitation and Breeding Centre in  Stara Zagora (Photo: Márton Horváth ). 

Ivaylo Krusov presents the widespread camera system, with the help of which,
almost all aviaries can be followed continuously. (Photo: Márton Horváth ).

The Centre works in cooperation with a neighbouring veterinarian university
and it is enviable how well their vet’s office is equipped (Photo: Márton Horváth )

Our visit to the Centre gave us some useful tips to the operation of the Eagle Centre in Hungary.

During the short visit, Bulgarian and Hungarian experts concluded that people working in raptor conservation in both countries face quite similar problems, notably electrocution, poisoning and degradation of foraging habitats. To facilitate future collaboration, the Hungarian experts invited their Bulgarian colleagues to visit Hungary next time to check out local raptor conservation projects.


Márton Horváth

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