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. / Emilian Stoynov, Hristo Peshev, Atanas Grozdanov, Nadya Vangelova – REINTRODUCTION OF THE GRIFFON VULTURE(GYPS FULVUS) IN KRESNA GORGE, SOUTH-WEST BULGARIA IN THE PERIOD 2010-2015








1 – Department of Zoology and anthropology, 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: pirin@fwff.org



Keywords: birds, conservation, reintroduction, Kresna gorge, Gyps fulvus


Abstract: The following research presents the activities and results of the reintroduction of Griffon Vulture (Gyps fulvus) in Kresna gorge, Southwest Bulgaria. The preparations for this conservation initiative started in 2000, after the foundation of the non-government organization Fund for wild flora and fauna, dedicated to conservation of wildlife, nature habitats and sustainable land management. The first 26 Griffon Vultures for Kresna gorge were provided by GREFA foundation, Spain and arrived in the area on 18.02.2010. The main idea of the following activities was the re-establishment of a Griffon Vulture colony in Southwestern Bulgaria, to play the role of a „connecting bridge“ between the species populations in the Eastern Rhodopes and Macedonia. As a part of the process, a feeding site for vultures was established in the area. Both the future new colony and the feeding site were planned to play an important role of safe ground for the vultures, migrating from the Central and Western Balkans (Croatia, Serbia and Macedonia) to the Rhodopi Mountains, Middle East, Africa and back. The reintroduction of Griffon Vultures was expected to support in natural way the return of Egyptian vultures (Neophron percnopterus), extinct from the area in the last decade, but also to provide basis for future reintroductions of Egyptian, Black and Bearded Vulture.

For the acclimatization of birds, an adaptation aviary was build in the vicinity of Rakitna village, municipality of Simitli. After some technical and methodological problems in the beginning, the following years showed success of the activities and the number of observed birds in the area progressively increased: 16 ind. observed at once in 2012, 28 in 2014 and 47 in 2015. In 2014 the presence of over 100 different birds was proven in the area, with the assistance of original method of photographic identification of the individuals.

During the 5 year period we observed marked individuals from Israel, Greece, Serbia, Croatia and birds from other reintroduction sites in Bulgaria. On the other hand, vultures released in Kresna gorge were identified in Serbia, Italy, Macedonia, Hungary and some parts of Bulgaria (Western and Eastern Balkan Mountains, Eastern Rhodopes).

In 2012 the reintroduction activities were reinforced through the “Life for Kresna gorge” project, supported by the LIFE financial instrument of EC and co-funded by private donors, such as Friends of Vienna Zoo, Austria and Zoo de Doue, France.

During the research period the vulture feeding site also attracted many other rare raptor species: Black vulture (Aegipius monahus), Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), Imperial Eagle (Aquila heliaca), Steppe Eagle (Aquila nipalensis), White-tailed Eahle (Haliaeetus albicilla), Greater Spotted Eagle (Aquila clanga), Red Kite (Milvus milvus) etc.