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Return of the Neophron - Urgent measures to secure survival of the Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus) in Bulgaria and Greece

LIFE10 NAT/BG/000152


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Contact details:

Project Manager: Stoyan NIKOLOV
Tel: + 359 2 9799 500
Fax: +359 2 9799 501
Email: stoyan.nikolov@bspb.org



Project description:

Background

In 2002, an action plan for the ‘recovery and conservation of vultures on the Balkan Peninsula and adjacent regions’ was drafted, as a joint effort of national and international NGOs. The plan is promoted by the Vulture Conservation Foundation and the Frankfurt Zoological Society; and is supported by, among others, by BirdLife International, the Eastern Griffon Vulture Working Group and the Bulgarian Environmental Partnership Foundation. The plan defines actions to be taken in the short- middle- and long-term, and aims to secure their implementation by encouraging and fostering links with available expertise from other vulture recovery projects across the Balkan states. Greece and Bulgaria jointly host almost 70% of the Balkan vulture population (62-71 pairs), of which 30-35 pairs are located in Greece and 32-36 in Bulgaria. Importantly, the project represents one of the last opportunities to prevent the extinction of a surviving subpopulation of the Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus) in Northern Bulgaria, which declined rapidly (from 22 pairs in 2003) to just eight pairs in 2010. The extinction of this subpopulation will effectively shift the distribution boundary for the endangered species southwards by some 300 km. Hence, the overall goal of this project is to seek to preserve the northernmost European boundary distribution of the species.


Objectives

This project will focus on improving the conservation status of the Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus) in Greece and Bulgaria. It will seek to secure the protection of all the remaining pairs found in 15 Natura 2000 sites in Greece and in 12 sites in Bulgaria. These SPAs host 76-93% of the Greek population and over 90% of the Bulgarian one. The preparatory work, as well as the concrete conservation actions, will be implemented in all SPAs where the species occurs and the results are expected to directly benefit more than 90% of the national populations of both countries. The actions envisaged by this project address the most relevant threats and problems for the conservation of the species, as identified in the most recent (2008) EU Species Action Plan for the Egyptian vulture. The project will address both the direct threats to the target species as well as a number of key problems that have been highlighted at both the Greek and Bulgarian national level. The most important threats being the high mortality rate caused by poisoning, direct persecution, accidents caused by human infrastructure and contaminated food.

Expected results: The project actions will directly address all the recognised threats that are contributing towards the long-term decline of this endangered species in Bulgaria and Greece. The actions are expected to result in the stabilisation of the Egyptian vulture population in the two countries. Additionally, the publication of a ‘flyway species action plan’, reinforced by an active expert conservation network, will be an important catalyst for future conservation action outside the EU that will directly benefit the Bulgarian and Greek breeding population. The project is expected to provide a valuable model for partnerships elsewhere working with migratory species. The following direct results are expected:

    • Significant improvements in knowledge of the mortality factors affecting the Balkan breeding population;
    • Increased knowledge of the migration routes and wintering areas of the Balkan breeding population via the use of satellite transmitters for monitoring of 40 juvenile and adult vultures;
    • Reduced deaths through illegal poison on project Natura 2000 sites;
    • Significant amounts of safe food provided through a series of delivery methods;
    • Improvements to breeding via supplementary feeding and improved knowledge;
    • Reduction of disturbance and direct persecution affecting the Egyptian vulture; and
    • Reduced risk of mortality from collision or electrocution.


    Results


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Environmental issues addressed:

Themes

Species - Birds


Keywords

endangered species‚  protected area‚  nature conservation


Target species

 Neophron percnopterus     


Natura 2000 sites

SPA GR1110002 DASOS DADIAS - SOUFLI
SPA GR1440005 ANTICHASIA ORI KAI METEORA
SPA GR1110009 NOTIO DASIKO SYMPLEGMA EVROU
SPA GR1130011 KOILADA FILIOURI
SPA GR1130012 KOILADA KOMPSATOU
SPA GR1440006 KORYFES OROUS KOZIAKA
SPA GR2120008 ORI PARAMYTHIAS, STENA KALAMA ÊÁÉ STENA ACHERONTA
SPA GR2120009 ORI TSAMANTA, FILIATON, FARMAKOVOUNI, MEGALI RACHI
SPA GR2130009 OROS TYMFI (GKAMILA)
SPA GR2130010 OROS DOUSKON, ORAIOKASTRO, DASOS MEROPIS, KOILADA GORMOU, LIMNI DELVINAKIOU
SPA BG0002012 Krumovitsa
SPA BG0002013 Studen Kladenets
SPA BG0002014 Madzharovo
SPA BG0002019 Byala Reka
SPA BG0002021 Sakar
SPA BG0002025 Lomovete
SPA BG0002029 Kotlenska planina
SPA BG0002038 Provadiysko-Royaksko plato
SPA BG0002044 Kamchiyska planina
SPA BG0002071 Most Arda
SPA BG0002073 Dobrostan
SPA BG0002106 Yazovir Ivaylovgrad
SPA GR1110010 OREINOS EVROS - KOILADA DEREIOU
SPA GR1140008 KENTRIKI RODOPI KAI KOILADA NESTOU
SPA GR1240007 ORI TZENA KAI PINOVO
SPA GR1310004 ORI ORLIAKAS KAI TSOURGIAKAS
SPA GR2130011 KENTRIKO ZAGORI KAI ANATOLIKO TMIMA OROUS MITSIKELI


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Beneficiaries:

Coordinator Bulgarian Society for the Protection ofBirds
Type of organisation NGO-Foundation
Description The Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds (PSPB) is the largest non-governmental organisation (NGO) dedicated to biodiversity conservation in Bulgaria. Founded in 1988, it is a nationwide organisation, supported by a large team of volunteers and its members. BSPB is the Bulgarian partner of BirdLife International.
Partners Hellenic Ornithological Society, Greece World Wildlife Fund, Greece Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, United Kingdom

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Project reference LIFE10 NAT/BG/000152
Duration 01-OCT-2011 to 31-DEC -2016
Total budget 2,625,742.00 €
EU contribution 1,312,871.00 €
Project location Associated Bulgaria (BG)(Bulgaria Balgarija)

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Read more:

Press article Title: "High juvenile mortality during migration in a declining population of a long-distance migratory raptor" (via http://lifeneophron.eu/en/news-view/322.html) Author: Stephen Oppelet al Year: 2015 Editor: British Ornithologists’ Union No of pages: 13
Project web site Project's website
Video link Making of the Egyptian vulture graffiti (3')
Video link "Twenty 20-years old people talking about the LIFE program, Natura 2000 and the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds"
Video link "LIFE for the Egyptian vulture: International collaboration" (14')

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Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version