International Project to Work on Restoring Bearded Vulture Population in Bulgaria

An international project aimed at restoring the population of the bearded vulture (Gypaetus barbatus) in Bulgaria and the Balkans launches on August 1. The LIFE-funded project combines the efforts of eight partners from Bulgaria, the Netherlands, and Romania, with the Green Balkans – Stara Zagora nongovernmental organization as the coordinating beneficiary, the NGO said in a press release.

The partners of the project are WWF, EcoObshnost Foundation, EVN Elektrorazpredelinie Yug EAD, Southwest State Enterprise – Vratsa, and the Sinite Kamani Nature Park from Bulgaria, the Vulture Conservation Foundation (VCF) from the Netherlands, and Milvus Group from Romania.

The project’s ultimate goal is to remove the bearded vulture from the list of extinct species in Bulgaria and the Balkans, and to finish the reintroduction of the endangered black vulture (Aegypius monachos) as a nesting species in this country.

The governments of Estremadura and Andalusia, Spain, will provide black vultures and the VCF, bearded vultures to be released in Bulgaria. The Dutch foundation coordinates the European Endangered Species Programme (EPP) for bearded vultures.

In addition to the release of vultures in the wild, the project will try to restore the bearded vulture in Bulgaria and strengthen the population of the black vulture through: artificial nesting platforms, pilot forest management for ensuring nesting habitats in the long term, promotion of extensive livestock production, reintroduction of the wild goat in the Sinite Kamani Nature Park, strengthening of the populations of the European ground squirrel and the tortoise in key zones for the project, activities to prevent and solve wildlife crimes, and satellite telemetry, among others.

The project will be on until July 2030. It has a budget of EUR 5,173,446.71, of which the EU will provide EUR 3,880,085.05 in co-funding.

The bearded, black, and griffon vultures became extinct in Bulgaria in the early 1970s. Programmes for their reintroduction in the country have been on since 2009.