After Dying Out For Decades, Vultures Finally Released Out Into The Wild In Bulgaria


When it comes to repopulating the wilderness with animals, bands of people are coming together to save these dying creatures. The animals clearly need man’s intervention and if everything is done right, the balance that was once found in nature can finally be restored.

This balance may take years, but it’s always better to start somewhere. So many of the animals have lost their homes to give way to growth, and unfortunately, this causes a chain reaction that’s difficult to stop. But there is hope, especially for the vultures in Bulgaria.

There were two female Cinereous vultures and they flew into the vast skies of Bulgaria. This was a celebration indeed as it marked the culmination of a 7-year project that was extremely successful in completing its mission on September 3rd, “World Vulture Day.”

These Cinereous vultures (Aegypius monachus) are amongst the giants found in the European bird world. They have a length of around a meter or more and a wingspan of as much as to 2.85 meters. These are one of Europe’s largest and rarest birds of prey. In the continent, they have around 1000 pairs of them and most are found in Spain. As for their reintroduction in Balkan Mountains of Bulgaria, the project’s main goal is to support the southeastern European population of these kinds of vulture.

Because at the end of it all, there were only two of these birds found in the conservation aviary that was set in the Vrachanski Nature Park. This was in the western part of the Balkan Mountains. And while people did their best to protect the birds and put them in a safe place, the vultures also deserved to be in their natural habitat. So, the last two females were released as part of the EU-financed LIFE-Project. Their task was to repopulate the black vultures after the Bulgarian population had died out sixty years ago.

Since the year 2018, there were about 70 young black vultures that were released in several regions of the Balkan Mountains. “After all the reintroductions of recent years, the release of these last two female vultures was still something special,” said Hristo Peshev. He is from the Bulgarian partner organization the Fund for Wild Flora and Fauna. He is also one of the many biologists who were part of this very important project.

“It will be exciting to see how the vultures acclimatize to their new environment. I am confident that they will be successful, like the majority of the other vultures released into the wild,” Peshev said when he spoke to the nonprofit Euronatur.

There were isolated setbacks that happened but even with these incidents, the reintroduction project was considered “very successful” because these several pairs of the reintroduced birds already had offspring. They had given birth to their young this year and last year, which was sooner than they had all expected. Nonetheless, they wanted a strong foundation for them, and thankfully, they had all been laid.

The return of the Cinereous vulture in its usual home in the Balkan Mountains was the goal of the EU-funded LIFE-Project and it finally this year. The organizations involved were EuroNatur and two Bulgarian conservation organizations called Green Balkans and the Fund for Wild Flora and Fauna. They also had help with the Spanish regional government of Extremadura and the vulture experts of the Vulture Conservation Foundation.

This was EuroNatur’s priceless contribution as they had expertise in the natural regional development in the Balkans. Aside from the Cinereous vultures, they also wanted to reintroduce the Griffon vultures to the region. But this isn’t the only project set in place. The organization also has other goals and that is to make sure that the vultures have a steady food supply for the long haul. They also want to prevent the laying of poison bait and to reduce their deaths because the overhead power lines can pose a danger to them. They will also set up feeding stations for these carrion eaters which will go through constant maintenance, and for this the farmers in the area will be closely involved as well.

It is with all the efforts and steps in place that they will be able to boost the southeastern European population. In the years that have passed, a foundation for the permanent return of the carrion eaters, also known as black vultures, will be there to make sure of its continued success.


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