Despite its catastrophic impact on Asian vulture populations in the 1990s, veterinary diclofenac is still used and marketed in countries such as Spain and Italy. The Vulture Conservation Foundation, a partner of Rewilding Europe in the LIFE Vultures project in the Rhodope Mountains rewilding area, has launched a campaign to ban its use in Europe.
With the slogan “Become an explorer”, this year’s Kartali Nature Camp inspired more than 60 people to explore the dramatic beauty of Bulgaria’s Rhodope Mountains, and to learn more about the local LIFE Vultures Project. Held between May 12 and 17 on the banks of the Studen Kladenets Reservoir, the event, attended by everyone from small children to volunteers and students, proved incredibly popular with young Bulgarian nature lovers.
Ten griffon vultures (nine adults and one juvenile) in Bulgaria’s Rhodope Mountains were fitted with satellite transmitters at the end of May. These will provide critical data on the distribution, migration and possible threats to the birds, enhancing conservation of the species in the region.
A visually stunning new exhibition, showcasing the natural wonders of the Eastern Rhodopes, is wowing visitors by making the Bulgarian capital Sofia a wilder place. Titled “Lords of the Rhodopean Skies”, it features 32 images depicting some of the most astonishing natural sights of the Rhodope Mountains rewilding area.
Who said that the black vultures live only in the mountains, far away from people? Our long work on those rare and significantly beautiful vultures confirms, every time we have the chance to observe them, that despite the fact that the black vultures are usually lonely birds, they can suddenly appear in residential areas near big cities, mainly as an attempt to find food.
As part of an ongoing reintroduction of red and fallow deer in the area, the animals will change habitats through grazing and provide an important prey base for local carnivores and scavengers.
Nature-related tourism training helps more than 30 participants in the Eastern Rhodopes. Last week more than 30 participants took part in a second nature and vulture-related tourism development training session in the Eastern Rhodopes, organised by Rewilding Rhodopes and the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds.
In early February further progress was made in the rewilding of the Rhodopes area in Bulgaria. The Rewilding Rhodopes team released nine red deer in the nature reserve of Studen Kladenets, and a group of fallow deer near Tintiava, in the Eastern Rhodopes.
Aiding restoration efforts in the Rhodope rewilding area, satellite transmitters are now being used to provide valuable scientific information about the ecology and biology of fallow deer.
Waterfowl count on Bulgaria’s Arda River reveals some special visitors. On the weekend of 14–15 January, more than 7,000 birds of 32 different species were recorded at the annual mid-winter waterfowl census on the Arda River in the Eastern Rhodope Mountains. Experts and volunteers from Rewilding Rhodopes and the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds observed some species that are rarely seen in the region.