LIFE FOR KRESNA GORGE - Conservation of birds of prey in Kresna Gorge, Bulgaria

LIFE11 NAT/BG/000363

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Contact details:

Project Manager: Nadya VANGELOVA
Tel: +359 73 88 14 40
Fax: + 359 73 88 14 40
Email: vangelova@fwff.org

Project description:


Following reintroductions carried out in early 2010, the Kresna Gorge is now the second most important area for the griffon vulture in Bulgaria, after Eastern Rhodopi, with three breeding pairs in 2011 and up to 20 birds present throughout the year. The site is also very important as a foraging area and as a ‘stepping stone’ for young griffon vultures on their migration from former Yugoslavian countries to the Bosporus and back. In southwest Bulgaria, three to five single adult or immature Egyptian vultures are present each year during the breeding season – about 5% of the Bulgarian population of the species. It is believed that southwest Bulgaria has the capacity to hold a stable population of about 10 breeding pairs. To achieve this goal, intensive direct and indirect conservation measures are required in order to concentrate the available birds in a safe area, attract new ones and support reproduction. The Kresna Gorge is also a very important area for other raptors, as well as for other bird, reptile, mammal and plant species.


The project aims to restore the populations of birds of prey and other emblematic species in southwest Bulgaria by reducing the impact of direct persecution and other indirect threats, maintaining and enhancing the habitats of birds of prey, reptiles and mammals in the Natura 2000 site designated for these species, and by promoting a positive attitude to birds of prey in key sectors.

These aims will be achieved by:

  • Implementing field actions according to the international action plans for birds of prey species, and the current ecological needs of the species present in the project area;
  • Implementing field actions to improve birds of prey breeding and foraging conditions;
  • Applying state-of-the-art conservation methods and technologies, such as the release of rehabilitated and captive-bred griffon and Egyptian vultures to boost their populations in the Struma river valley;
  • Captive breeding, acclimatisation and rehabilitation of vultures to support the restoration of their populations.

Expected results: The project expects to increase the griffon vulture colony in Kresna Gorge from 1-3 pairs to 8-12 pairs. It will also establish a local breeding facility for vultures and a facility for land tortoises rehabilitation and safe reproduction. It is also expected that, as a result of the project actions, the Egyptian vulture will be frequently present in the project area, that at least one new breeding attempt will be registered, and that three municipal feeding sites for scavenging birds of prey are established and operational.



Environmental issues addressed:


Species - Birds


endangered species‚  migratory species‚  protected area‚  nature conservation

Target EU Legislation

  • Nature protection and Biodiversity
  • Directive 79/409 - Conservation of wild birds (02.04.1979)

Target species

 Aegypius monachus   Aquila chrysaetos   Canis lupus   Falco biarmicus   Gyps fulvus   Neophron percnopterus   Testudo graeca   Testudo hermanni   

Natura 2000 sites

SCI BG0000366 Kresna - Ilindentsi
SPA BG0002003 Kresna



Coordinator Fund for Wild Flora and Fauna
Type of organisation NGO-Foundation
Description The Fund for Wild Flora and Fauna (FWFF) was established in 2000 in order to carry out practical conservation activities in Bulgaria, such as the reintroduction of species and the restoration of grassland habitats using traditional livestock husbandry practices. FWFF aims to minimise the conflict between livestock breeders and predators and thus prevent the use of poisonous bait. The organisation has developed and implements a unique compensation programme for depredated livestock based on the replacement of killed animals with live ones from its own sheep and goat herds.
Partners Bioparc de Doue la Fontaine, France


Project reference LIFE11 NAT/BG/000363
Duration 01-JUN-2012 to 30-NOV -2016
Total budget 376,891.00 €
EU contribution 188,445.00 €
Project location Yugozapaden(Bulgaria Balgarija)


Read more:

Project web site Project's website
Publication: Book "Reintroduction of the Griffon Vulture Gyps ful ...


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