Начало / Университетът / Факултети / Биологически факултет / Официални издания / Годишник на Софийския университет - КНИГА 4 Научни сесии на Биологическия факултет / Първа национална конференция по реинтродукция на консервационно значими видове - 2015 год. / Vladimir Stefanov, Emilian Stoynov, Lachezar Bonchev, Stamen Stanchev – RESTORATION OF THE EUROPEAN GROUND SQUIRREL IN KOTLENSKA PLANINA






1 – Department of Ecology and Environmental Protection, Faculty of Biology, Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”, Sofia, Bulgaria
2 – Fund for Wild Flora and Fauna, 2700 Blagoevgrad, P.O. Box 78, 49 Ivan Michaylov Str, room 327, Bulgaria
*Corresponding author: vladstef@abv.bg


Keywords: population, reintroduction, restoration, European ground squirrel, Kotlenska Planina


Abstract: Based on questionnaire data, European Ground Squirrel is considered extinct in the region of Kotel town (Natura sites Kotlenska planina BG0000117 and BG 0002029) since 1990. In 2011, the Fund for Wild Flora and Fauna started a program aiming at restoring the European Ground Squirrel. The program implementation is based on assessment of the regional conditions (physical-geographical mosaicity of the landscape and habitats’ conditions incl. dependence on the degree of development of pasture livestock breeding) and, on this basis, a reintroduction of the European Ground Squirrel in territories found suitable for its existence. In 2011 and 2012, a reintroduction of European Ground Squirrels (64 and 56 individuals, respectively) was carried out in two adjacent localities around acting shepherds and a dairy farm. The data obtained in the subsequent monitoring of these places showed that the animals successfully bred and, generally, in both localities a colony was formed inhabiting a total area of 3 ha. In the period 2013-2014, the boundaries of the inhabited territory were relatively constant, while in 2015 settlement and breeding has expanded to a new territory, covering an area of about 1 ha.

In the same year, the assessment of habitats showed significant improvement of the existing conditions for European Ground Squirrel on a large area of pastures as a result of increased number of grazing livestock. The change of the conditions and the success of the initial experiment justified the implementation of a second reintroduction into a new habitat being relatively distant from the first settlement. A total of 44 animals were reintroduced during the second experiment. If the repeated reintroduction is successful, it can be argued with a high degree of certainty that the core for restoration of a viable population of European Ground Squirrel in the region has been successfully established.