LIFE for Kresna Gorge LIFE11 NAT/BG/000363
In 2016 Bulgaria is celebrating its huge contribution in saving of European natural heritage. Eleven successfully fledged Griffon vulture chicks on the cliffs of Balkan Mountain and Kresna Gorge (Pirin) have confirmed the future of vulture populations there. It is a payoff of a long process of fifteen years in hard work and real team efforts.
Since 2009 there were released 60 griffon vultures in Kresna Gorge. In 2016 the fledged chicks became 2 more. The results show the success of the project and put Griffon vulture in the group of “breeding species” for the regions. The total number of pairs was 6.
Reduce the impacts of direct persecution and indirect threats on birds of prey in SW Bulgaria.
- Has built of second feeding site and ensure safe food for local colony and the increasing number of incoming migratory vultures and eagles. After some eight years of missing, in August 2015 two Egyptian vultures are visiting frequently the feeding site in Kresna Gorge, despite the negative population’s trend. Most probably these are birds from Macedonia or Greece, have lost their partners and searching for permanent available food to strengthen themselves before the forthcoming long trip to Africa. They are definitely attracted by the new-formed Griffon Vulture colony in Kresna Gorge. At the same time FWFF team in Kresna Gorge is doing observations of Black vultures near the feeding sites as follows- in 2013- 1 bird, 2014- 2 birds and in 2015- four Black vultures spent 2 months all in all in the area.
What is more- Imperial Eagle, Red kite, Steppe Eagle, Greater Spotted Eagle, Black Kite, Rock Partridge, Hoopoe, Shrikes are presenting in the area, all due to the LIFE for Kresna Gorge.
- Installing the perch discouragers and immediately stop electrocution of vultures near the feeding site- 55 bird discouragers were set.
- Closely monitoring and response to the predators’ attacks and to prevent illegal poisoning thus. Save the region from poisons that is why the Compensation Program had to be developed. Some changes in the prior course of the project should have been done- changing the husbandry practice in the model herds, from sheep to cattle; re-introduce Fallow deer in the region, changing the message to the farmers and advice some of them to change to cattle too; realizing the unsufficient role of guarding dogs for avoiding predators ‘attacks over the livestock in certain target area, etc.
- Fitting twelve vultures with GPS/GSM transmitters to track their movements
Restore the populations of species emblematic for the area.
- Building of Wildlife Center in Rakitna on an area of 2,4 ha, which was purchased partly from FWFF and the rest is a state property. It was fenced so the planned Tortoise Sanctuary and Captive breeding facility for vultures of 9 aviaries both took place here. The entire complex is called Wildlife Center in Rakitna. What is more, inside the fence the 14 Fallow deer are grazing and breeding.
Maintain and enhance the habitat for birds of prey, reptiles and mammals in NATURA 2000 site designated for these species.
- Build a model cattle farm. The old existing one was renovated in the village of Mechkul and a sheep herd formed. Lately the husbandry was changed to cattle due to wide depredation on sheep and goat.
- Attracted more farmers to shift to cattle and prevent depredation, thus avoid the illegal poisoning. But also our strategy was to persuade them to obtain autochthonous cattle breed, the best for extensive breeding and maintaining of pastures around. With some of them FWFF has been cooperated.
- Supporting transhumance practice of some farmers
Furnishing the Info Center in the village of Rakitna and the model farm, which showed local audience our wish to settle a part of our NGO in the area and to prove them our long-term intentions to work and economically develop the region.