Vultures circle again

The Eurasian Griffon has disappeared from the Balkan Mountains in Bulgaria for 50 years. Since today, the majestic birds circle again above the mountains. 26 Eurasian Griffons were released from their aviaries at the same time on four different locations in the Western, Central and Eastern Balkan mountains.

Two flying griffon vultures
© Alfred Limbrunner

Poisoned baits, which were laid out for wolves, wiped out the scavenger in the seventies in the Balkan mountains.  The big birds are now back. In the scope of a project,  funded by the German Environment Foundation (Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt, DBU), the Zoological Association Frankfurt (Zoologische Gesellschaft Frankfurt, ZGF) and the Foundation for the Protection of Vultures (Stiftung zum Schutz der Geier, VCF) cooperated closely with the Bulgarian Nature Preservation Organisations Green Balkans and Fund for Wild Flora and Fauna (FWFF).

All 26 birds come from Spain, the biggest vulture territory in Europe. Having been raised there, the Eurasian Griffons were then taken to Bulgaria, where they stayed in aviaries for several months to get accustomed to their new home country.

“The Balkan mountains are a natural corridor for wild animals to spread out. They are of extraordinary importance for the biological diversity in Southern Europe,” states DBU press officer Franz-Georg Elpers. The re-introduction project for Eurasian Griffons is a valuable contribution to maintain the diversity of species in the Balkan mountains. Furthermore, scavengers have an important role for an intact ecological system. EuroNatur together with the FWFF and Green Balkans have committed themselves for many years to maintain biodiversity in the Balkan mountains and Bulgaria.

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