Protecting wolves in Bulgaria

Championing a wolf management plan

© Wolf Steiger
© Wolf Steiger

The wolf population in Bulgaria is under great pressure. The results of comprehensive scientific studies carried out by our Bulgarian partners show that the forest authorities have been working on the assumption of a wolf population that is far larger than it is in reality and are as a result allowing the shooting of an irresponsible number of wolves. Although wolves have never died out in Bulgaria there is still no official management plan for a conflict free coexistence of wolf and man.

In cooperation with its Bulgarian partners EuroNatur is working hard on improving the situation of wolves. In order to develop practical measures for the protection of wolves in Bulgaria our partners have begun to work out a wolf management plan for the whole of Bulgaria. All parties have been brought into this undertaking - the Ministry for the Environment, the forest authorities, hunters, universities and nature conservation organisations – so that the plan can be realised with the widest possible support.



What actions is EuroNatur undertaking to protect wolves in Bulgaria?

 

  • Creating reliable databases: On the basis of various studies a model of the distribution of wolves in Bulgaria has been produced using a geographical information system (GIS). This provides reliable data on how many wolves there are in Bulgaria.
  • Keeping an eye on the wolves: With continuous research and surveillance we intend to keep a reliably updated picture of the state and numbers of the population.
  • Stabilising the population: We are campaigning concertedly with our partners for the  statutory protection of wolves.
  • Creating wolf acceptance: Our nature conservation partners are active locally on a daily basis to foster understanding of the real nature of wolves and overcome local prejudice. One recipe for success here is taking the problems of farmers with livestock seriously.
  • Building trust: If livestock is attacked by wolves our local partners organize rapid unbureaucratic aid. Beyond that they inform farmers about how to set up effective protection against wolves and provide them with livestock guardian dogs free of charge.


What we have so far been able to achieve- a selection of important successes

 

  • With the help of our partners we have managed to overcome the hostile relations between the interest groups sufficiently to work together on the first steps in the development of a management plan.
  • The comprehensive studies carried out by our partners have provided reliable data on the wolf population in Bulgaria and have made it possible for the designation of 29 Natura 2000 regions, which had at first been shelved by the Bulgarian government, to be declared now; which means that the protection of valuable habitats for the wolf is now secured.
  • Through comprehensive measures for the prevention of livestock damage and for compensation in cases of wolf attacks we and our partners have been able to contribute significantly to a reduction of conflicts between livestock farmers and wolves.


Partners: Balkani Wildlife Society, Fund for Wild Flora and Fauna (FWFF)

Sponsoring: EuroNatur donors and sponsors


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