Fund for Wild Flora and Fauna

The campaign “Bright Future for Vultures” praised eleven prominent European nature conservationists connected with the return of Griffon vulture at Balkan and Pirin Mountains

Mr. Pierre Gay- one of the Godfather of our vultures took the praise personally and brought two Griffon vultures to Bulgaria

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 of Green Balkans, Fund for Wild Flora and Fauna (FWFF) and Birds of Prey Protection Society (BPPS). The chicks were named after conservationists from 8 European countries. Ambassadors of four countries in Bulgaria officially received the certificates.

Pierre Gay, one of the vultures ‘godfathers, chose to come and take the Certificate personally. He was not alone, but accompanied by two fledgling Griffon vultures born in the Bioparc Doue-la- Fontaine. They will be released in Kresna Gorge after some acclimatization period. Mr. Gay has received a Certificate of Appreciation in the Information Center of LIFE for Kresna Gorge project. Later on he has released a vulture in the Gorge. The Bioparc has started supporting vultures’ reintroduction projects in Bulgaria since 2002. Ever since it has donated twelve Griffon vultures for releasing in Balkan Mountain and at Kresna Gorge. What is more, FWFF has been received a long-term financial support from the Zoo.

Who are the conservationists our vulture chicks are named after?

Prominent European conservations from 8 countries gave their names to our vulture chicks. They are:

Michel TerrasseVulture Conservation Foundation, France

Wolfang Fremuth Frankfurt Zoological Society, Germany

Juan-Jose ArtezBlack Vulture Conservation Foundation, Spain

Evelyn TawesBlack Vulture Conservation Foundation, Austria

Jose TavaresVulture Conservation Foundation, Portugal

Jovan AndreevskiVulture Conservation Foundation, Macedonia

Alvaro CaminaSpain

Nikolay NenchevNature Park “Vrachanski Balkan”, Bulgaria

Pierre GayBiopark De Doue, France

Ernesto AlvaresFoundation GREFA, Spain

Margarete RoithmairFriend of Vienna Zoo, Austria

Who Is Pierre Gay?

He is a second-generation owner and Director of the French Bioparc Doue-la-Fontaine. In 1972, Pierre Gay had joined his father in the direction of the zoo. His youth energy led the Zoo to grow and increase the collection and start charity and donation to various in-situ conservation projects worldwide. The visit of the zoo of Gerald Durrell in 1978 was crucial and Pierre Gay had decided to dedicate also to the preservation of endangered species. Back in Doue La Fontaine, he shared this vision with his father who was persuaded. They created one more Zoo des Sables on the Atlantic coast, being visited by more than 150 thousand people annually. Pierre is a huge donor to more than 30 wildlife and ecosystems conservation projects worldwide. He is a Board member at a list of international charity and conservation organizations and institutions. People enjoy his mercy and joyfulness. Furthermore, he is a very positive and energetic person possess strong leadership skills. He is an adoring husband, father and grandfather in a big family.

What is Bioparc Doue-la-Fountaine?

This is one of the most exciting zoos in Europe, located in Pays de la Loire in France. He called Zoo of Mining of its creation by Louis Gay in 1961 until the 1980s and was known as the Zoo name of Doue La Fontaine until 2011. Family Property Gay, who has also the Zoo des Sables in Vendée, it is directed by Pierre and François Gay, son and grand-son of the founder. Located in the heart of old stone quarries shellfish, which gives it a particular character cave, it covers 14 hectares and has about 1000 animals a hundred species. This is one of the few zoos to introduce French black rhino and the okapi.

With about 200 000 visitors a year for 10 years, this is one of the most visited site in the Maine-et-Loire department.

First private zoo in France to become a permanent member of the European Association of Zoos and Aquariums, in the 1980s, he joined ex situ conservation by participating in European programs for endangered species (EEP), which he two coordinates. The Bioparc is the initiator of “nature projects” aimed at protecting the natural environment and the species that live there. In 2016, about 30 projects, largely funded by the Bioparc, are in place worldwide- last primary forests of Madagascar, last giraffe herds of Western Africa, endangered dry forests of Peru. The huge breeding program of the Zoo makes possible support to the in-situ conservation projects by donating animals from rare and threatened species for reintroduction and restocking- Snow leopards, Condors, Parrots, Tigers… and Griffon vultures for Bulgaria.