Staffan Widstrand / Rewilding Europe

Conservation of black and griffon vultures in the Rhodope mountains

Griffon vulture soaring above distant mountain slope.

A griffon vulture soars high in the sky on a thermal updraft.
Bruno D'Amicis / Rewilding Europe

Project name: Conservation of black and griffon vultures in the cross-border Rhodope mountains
Acronym: LIFE RE-Vultures
Reference code: LIFE14 NAT/NL/000901
Duration: 5 years. Start date 01.01.2016. End date 30.06.2021
Total budget: 2,198,572 euros
EU contribution: 1,648,015 euros

Latest news:

  • Young Bulgarian explorers gather at the second Kartali Nature Camp

    9. June 2017

    With the slogan “Become an explorer”, this year’s Kartali Nature Camp inspired more than 60 people to explore the dramatic beauty of Bulgaria’s Rhodope Mountains, and to learn more about the local LIFE Vultures Project. Held between May 12 and 17 on the banks of the Studen Kladenets Reservoir, the event, attended by everyone from …

  • More vultures equipped with satellite transmitters in the Rhodope Mountains

    5. June 2017

    Ten griffon vultures (nine adults and one juvenile) in Bulgaria’s Rhodope Mountains were fitted with satellite transmitters at the end of May. These will provide critical data on the distribution, migration and possible threats to the birds, enhancing conservation of the species in the region. The transmitters were fitted as part of the LIFE Vultures …

  • Lords of the Rhodopean Skies: a new wildlife exhibition takes off in Sofia

    25. May 2017

    A visually stunning new exhibition, showcasing the natural wonders of the Eastern Rhodopes, is wowing visitors by making the Bulgarian capital Sofia a wilder place. Titled “Lords of the Rhodopean Skies”, it features 32 images depicting some of the most astonishing natural sights of the Rhodope Mountains rewilding area. With the event organised under the …

  • Restrictive veterinary legislation hinders the creation of “vulture restaurants” in Bulgaria

    6. May 2017

    The restrictive veterinary legislation in Bulgaria and the proximity of our country to Turkey, where contagious diseases come from, hinders the implementation of European regulations related to the feeding of vultures and the creation of vulture restaurants aimed at satisfying the food requirements of vultures. In Greece and Bulgaria recent regulation has not even been …

  • A day among the lords of the skies

    13. April 2017

    Volen Arkumarev, a conservation officer with the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds (BSPB), is working on the LIFE Vultures project. He recounts a record breaking griffon vulture monitoring session in the Rhodope Mountains. It’s a cold morning and the Arda river is flowing through the rocky hills in its calmness. Below the deep …

  • The unexpected visit of a Black Vulture

    6. April 2017

    Who said that the black vultures live only in the mountains, far away from people? Our long work on those rare and significantly beautiful vultures confirms, every time we have the chance to observe them, that despite the fact that the black vultures are usually lonely birds, they can suddenly appear in residential areas near …

  • New red deer herd released in Rhodopes

    3. April 2017

    As part of an ongoing reintroduction of red and fallow deer in the area, the animals will change habitats through grazing and provide an important prey base for local carnivores and scavengers. Tintyava, in the core Rhodope rewilding area, is since March, home to a new herd of red deer. Although the seven-strong group of adults …

  • Reaching out in the Rhodopes

    24. March 2017

    Nature-related tourism training helps more than 30 participants in the Eastern Rhodopes. Last week more than 30 participants took part in a second nature and vulture-related tourism development training session in the Eastern Rhodopes, organised by Rewilding Rhodopes and the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds. This specialised course, offered to small businesses and …

  • Electrocution caused the dead of the rare black vulture

    16. March 2017

    An adult black vulture was found dead due to collision against electric line, in mid-February, reported WWF Greece. The bird was found in Filiouri valley, study area of Life project, after a prompt call of the forest guard from the Sapes Forest Service.   The Rhodope Mountains are home to the only breeding colony of …

  • More red and fallow deer released in the Rhodopes

    19. February 2017

    In early February further progress was made in the rewilding of the Rhodopes area in Bulgaria. The Rewilding Rhodopes team released nine red deer in the nature reserve of Studen Kladenets, and a group of fallow deer near Tintiava, in the Eastern Rhodopes. Introducing small groups of animals over successive years is proving a good …

  • A Spatial Approach

    14. February 2017

    Jelle Harms, an expert mapper and spatial analyst currently working with the LIFE Vultures project, tells us about his valuable work.   From mapping national parks for Google in West Africa to vegetation change studies in Zambia with the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, my passion for ecological mapping and spatial analysis has taken me all …

  • Satellite transmitters to help fallow and red deer reintroduction in Rhodopes

    10. February 2017

    Aiding restoration efforts in the Rhodope rewilding area, satellite transmitters are now being used to provide valuable scientific information about the ecology and biology of fallow deer.    At the beginning of 2017, five fallow deer were equipped with satellite transmitters by veterinarians and experts from the Rhodopes rewilding team. These are all now working …

  • Rhodopes census records rare species

    23. January 2017

    Waterfowl count on Bulgaria’s Arda River reveals some special visitors.    On the weekend of 14-15 January, more than 7,000 birds of 32 different species were recorded at the annual mid-winter waterfowl census on the Arda River in the Eastern Rhodope Mountains. Experts and volunteers from Rewilding Rhodopes and the Bulgarian Society for the Protection …

  • The number of griffon vultures roosting in Eastern Rhodopes continues to grow

    22. November 2016

    The number of griffon vultures in the Eastern Rhodopes continues to grow, shows the annual census of griffon vultures on the Balkan Peninsula. This year, 184 griffon vultures were counted along Arda River in Rhodope Mountains rewilding area, home of the largest colony of griffon vultures in Bulgaria. Last year there were 178 griffon vultures …

  • Active participation of LIFE Vultures at international vulture conservation events

    19. November 2016

    November was filled with a diverse range of events, lectures, workshops, and activities related to the protection of vulture species in Europe and worldwide.  Experts from the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds (BSPB) took аn active part in most of them and presented some of the results and activities from the project “Conservation …

  • Satellite transmitters track Greek black vultures

    4. November 2016

    During the last few weeks, 11 black vultures were equipped with satellite transmitters in Dadia National Park, in the Greek part of the Rhodope Mountains. These transmitters will provide important scientific data about the distribution, movements and possible threats, which will further help identify future conservation actions for the species in this region. These actions …

  • Bulgarian griffon vulture explores Middle East

    1. November 2016

    This summer, seven griffon vultures – four adults and three young – were fitted with satellite transmitters in the breeding colony near Madzarhovo in the Bulgarian Rhodope Mountains. The first interesting results about their movements are already being revealed, with one young bird undertaking a long journey to the southeast. The vulture flew across two …

  • Training course – Wildlife watching enterprise in Rhodope Mountains

    27. October 2016

    This October, Rewilding Rhodopes organized a special training course on the management and development of wildlife watching enterprise and wildlife photography in Madzharovo, Bulgaria. The training was part of the LIFE Project “Conservation of black and griffon vultures in Rhodope Mountains” (LIFE Vultures), and connected more than 30 participants that gained valuable knowledge, exchanged experiences and …

  • Poisoning hits wildlife in Eastern Rhodopes – Anti-poison dog units in action

    24. October 2016

    Just after we officially launched the first Anti-Poison Dog Unit last week, Bulgaria witnessed a serious new case of poisoning in the Eastern Rhodopes close to the Greek border. In just a few days time, seven wolves, five shepherd dogs, one wild boar, two foxes, one hedgehog and one stone marten were found near a …

  • New cases of poisoned animals in Eastern Rhodopes

    18. October 2016

    New case of poisoned animal in the Eastern Rhodopes was registered this Sunday. This time the authorities and experts from Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds and Green Balkans found wild boar after a signal from concerned hunters from the region of Strazhets, Krumovgrad. Over the weekend Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds …

  • First Antipoison Dog Unit starts patrolling in Rhodope Mountains

    11. October 2016

    This summer, Nikolay Terziev from the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds (BSPB) spent nearly two months in Hungary where he was trained as dog handler for the first Antipoison Dog Unit in Bulgaria. The main objective of the Unit is to create poison-free areas by controlling and removing poisoned baits before they can …

  • LIFE – Vultures Project presented during Vulture Awareness Day celebration

    15. September 2016

    Last Friday, the Life project “Conservation of Black and Griffon vultures in the cross-border Rhodope Mountains” held its opening ceremony during the International Vulture Awareness Day celebration in Bulgaria. The project focuses on the recovery and further expansion of black and griffon vulture populations in this part of the Balkan region, simultaneously developing nature based …

  • Educating the future “rewilding” generation in Bulgaria

    20. June 2016

    Rewilding Europe places high value on education programmes and activities for kids, students, volunteers, activists and other nature enthusiasts. We believe that an essential part of our work is to communicate and share our passion, knowledge and enthusiasm for the natural world, and the philosophy of rewilding with the generations to come. In May, the …

  • Eastern Rhodopes welcome this year’s first griffon vulture chick

    13. April 2016

    This March the first griffon vulture chick hatched in the Studen Kladenets Natura 2000 site, located in the core of the Rhodope Mountains rewilding area. With spring in full rise, more chicks will hatch in the coming weeks continuing the positive trend in the griffon vulture population in Bulgaria. This year vulture experts and the rewilding team …

  • LIFE Bison and LIFE Vultures projects kicked-off

    19. February 2016

    A major gathering of nature conservation organisations took place this week in Haskovo, Bulgaria. Members from Rewilding Europe, Rewilding Rhodopes, Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds/Birdlife Bulgaria, WWF Romania, WWF Greece, Vulture Conservation Foundation and Hellenic Ornithological Society/BirdLife Greece gathered for the kick-off meetings and training sessions of two LIFE funded projects that officially …