Rewilding Europe (coordinating beneficiary)
LIFE Project Manager
Annette Mertensgraduated in Zoology at the University “La Sapienza” in Rome. Her passion for wolves and bears has then taken her to Romania, where she has worked in the Carpathian Large Carnivore Project. She started in 1995 with a year of radio-telemetry work on wolves, and then continued from 1998 to 2002, coordinating the bear research and management component of the project and focusing on the analysis and management of carnivore-livestock raising conflicts.
After this Annette has written several other LIFE proposals, both on her own initiative and on request of other parties, and coordinated the projects upon acceptance. Annette has started working with Rewilding Europe in March 2014, when she was contracted to assist in the production of three LIFE proposals, which have all been submitted in October 2014. Annette has become part of the Rewilding Europe team as Advisor Fundraising, focusing on public funding in particular EU related.
Financial Manager LIFE Projects
Dana, originally from Prague, Czech Republic, lives in the Netherlands for more than 20 years. She started her career in the area of science policies, after completing her MSc degree in biology, Radboud University Nijmegen, with research specialisms in ethology, animal ecology and behavioral physiology.
For 15 years, Dana worked for the Dutch animal welfare charity AAP. Dana has a broad insight and experience in the green NGO sector at an international level, and is happy to have joined Rewilding Europe, in early 2016. As a member of Rewilding Europe Central Team Dana is supporting the implementation and management of Rewilding Europe’s LIFE-projects.
Originally from Catalonia, Deli Saavedra (1968) became part of Rewilding Europe in 2012. He studied Biology and holds a PhD which focussed in the Eurasian Otter. He has worked as a consultant in nature conservation during the last twenty years, coordinating the reintroduction of endangered species (black vulture, Eurasian otter) and the planning and management of protected areas. He has collaborated and researched on protected areas planning (Costa Rica, Hungary), private conservation (Venezuela, Australia) and endangered species (Poland, Morocco, Ethiopia), and has been consultant at the Territory and Landscape Foundation (Catalonia) and the Observatory for Biodiversity and Ecological Processes in Rural Areas (Spanish Government). He has been director of SolucioNat (ltd.), dedicated to bird control and management activities in natural areas.
He has written a book about the reintroduction of the Otter in Catalonia and another one about birds and mammals of northern Ethiopia. He is the president of Sol Solidari (foundation for environmental cooperation in Africa) and member of the Reintroductions Specialist Group of IUCN.
Rewilding Rhodopes (associated beneficiary)
Stoycho Stoychev, Conservation Director of the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds/Bird Life Bulgaria lives and works in the Rewiding Rhodopes area from the town of Haskovo. He is well known conservation leader with an excellent track record. His successful work in increasing the population of the imperial eagle in the adjacent Strandzha-Sakar Mountains brought him the Whitley Conservation Award for 2014.
Stoycho has in depth knowledge of national and international conservation, including policy and legislation, in particular from the work with BirdLife International, and has excellent contact with stakeholders on national, regional and local level in the Rhodope Mountains.
Stefan was born on 17 October 1967. Graduated in Thracian University, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. He started with nature conservation activities since 1987 when he as student was involved in vulture conservation in Eastern Rhodopes. He was part of the team that created the recent network of protected areas in Eastern Rhodopes within a project of Bulgarian Swiss Biodiversity Conservation Program in the period 1998 – 2004. He is a representative of Bulgarian NGOs in the National Hunting Council at National Forestry board. Stefan was responsible for the Red and Fallow Deer restoration in the New Thracian Gold project in the period 2010-2014.
Desislava is the project’s administrative coordinator. She has previous experience in the corporative sector. Archaeologist by education and training, she fell in love with this mountain in the Eastern Rhodopes in the late 90’s when she first visited the area. For several years now she has been living and working for the protection of “green treasure” of the Eastern Rhodopes.
Nelly Naydenova holds a Masters Degree in Environmental Science and Policy, and has always had a strong interest in the protection of nature and conservation. Nelly spent her mid-twenties working as an environmental reporter in Bulgaria as she strongly believes that science needs to be communicated using a language comprehensible to everyone. Nelly has work experience in various types of organizations that involve either environmental education or communication and she is also currently working for Friends of the Earth Bulgaria. Having been to the Rhodope Mountains several times, she adores the area, and takes every opportunity she has to go there.
Zoritsa holds Master of Tourism Management, during her studies she linked her professional development with the opportunities for regional development through tourism. During her first 7 professional years she worked in Bulgarian Association for Alternative Tourism, where she worked with potential and present entrepreneurs in rural tourism. In the association she developed her potential as working on projects on her favorite topics – sustainable tourism development, promotion of entrepreneurship in ecotourism, environmental education. Zorica has been a speaker at numerous seminars on successful development of ecotourism business. In 2008 she linked her professional and personal life with the Rhodopes. Recently, she specializes in provision of information to citizens and organizations for funding sources for her project ideas, existing within the EU.
Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds (associated beneficiary)
Svetoslav Spasov is a member and volunteer at the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds since 1992. He started working for the BSPB in 2002; since 2008 he is in charge of BSPB’s monitoring activities: monitoring of common bird species, Mid-winter Waterfowl Census etc. He is the author of two birds guides, and he has developed SmartBirds, the first mobile application in Bulgaria for electronic identification and monitoring data for birds.
Dobromir is an ecologist and PhD candidate in Ecology and ecosystems conservation. He has been fascinated by wildlife and birds since his early age and in 2001 he started as a volunteer for BSPB. Since then Dobromir has participated in numerous projects for mainly raptors and vultures conservation in Bulgaria and abroad and since 2012 he has been working as a LIFE project coordinator in BSPB. His interests are mainly towards species conservation and management, mountaineering and climbing.
Volen is interested in study and conservation of birds of prey and especially vultures. Raptors are fascinating animals intriguing his imagination since he was a kid. His passion has brought him to a number of projects for the conservation of the Egyptian and Griffon Vultures, Imperial Eagle, Lesser-spotted Eagle etc. He likes travelling and exploring wildlife in new areas and countries.
Dog Trainer and Keeper
Nikolay Terziev Works in BSPB since 2005 and has been employed on different position in the organization. Sometimes he is involved in specialized activities including climbing skills and work in extreme conditions. In this project he will be responsible for the Antipoison Dog Unit.
Vanya graduated in Public Administration and International Relations. She started working for the BSPB in 2012 as project administrator. Since her first encounter with the vultures in the wild she was greatly impressed by these beautiful, majestic birds. Vanya loves her job because it gives her the opportunity to work for a cause she truly believes in. When she needs a break from the office, she joins her colleagues in the field.
WWF Greece (associated beneficiary)
Head of Programmes and Operations
Constantinos Liarikos is a trained economist with postgraduate studies in Development and Environmental Management. He has worked in the private sector, in education and as a free-lance consultant. Since 2000 he has collaborated with a number of academic and research institutions, including the University of Lecce, the Mediterranean Institute for Nature and Anthropos, the National Centre for Social Research, the University of the Aegean, the Agricultural University of Athens and the Harokopion University of Athens. In the latter two he is also an occasional lecturer. Since 2002 he is working with the Greek office of WWF, as a project manager and a participant in environmental policy and strategy teams. Today he holds the position of the Head of Conservation.
Conservation Project Administrator
Natasha Maragou (b. 1974) has studied accounting and has followed a number of trainings in project management and financial management. She also holds a degree from the Greek Open University in Humanities. She is working with WWF Greece since 1994. Today she is heading the organization’s Project Management and Operations Unit. Under this position she is overall responsible for the financial and technical monitoring of conservation projects, the management of project resources, reporting to donors and the WWF network, coordination among different WWF departments and between WWF and its external partners, operation of management systems and processes, and a number of other operational and management issues. She is married and mother of two. Participating in various stages of a project cycle (design, resource planning, evaluation, reporting and lessons learned, etc.) and getting to know a variety of conservation issues and challenges is what she enjoys most about her job.
Leader of WWF Greece Evros field project
Theodora Skartsi studied forestry in Thessaloniki and she has been specialized on vultures’ protection and management.
She is working for WWF Greece since 1993 as field researcher and she is leader of the WWF local team the last 5 years with responsibilities as coordination, planning and organization of scientific and environmental issues related to the Dadia National park as far as the adjacent region in Thrace (Rodopi mountain). She leaves and works in the Dadia village (Soufli, Evros).
Elzbieta Kret is from Poland where graduated the environmental protection and the animal ecology. She has been working for WWF since 2006 and her first steps were in Dadia as EVS volunteer (European Voluntary Service). During 2007-2009 she participated in the project « Ecology research of red deer in Mount Parnis ». Since 2009 she has been involved as field researcher in the Evros Project in Dadia where the main goals are the monitoring and protection of rare birds of prey, mainly vultures’ species. Recently, she and her dog “partner” have composed the first antipoison dog unit in Greece.
She leaves and works in the Dadia village (Soufli, Evros).
Hellenic Ornithological Society (associated beneficiary)
Vulture Conservatin Foundation (associated beneficiary)
José Pedro Tavares, a Portuguese national, is a biologist with a life-long vocation and action in the field of nature conservation. After doing his university in Lisbon, he went on to the UK to do a PhD on ornithology (the study of birds) . He then worked for the Portuguese Government National Park Service, and spent 12 years at the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), a UK charity, and the biggest nature conservation organization in Europe, and one of the biggest in the world. There he managed the RSPB programme in five countries: Turkey, where he is based, Greece, Cyprus, Portugal and Spain. At the VCF since February 2013, José is enjoying very much the opportunity to build an organisation from scratch. He aims to develop the VCF into a sustainable, effective, leading organization securing the protection of vultures and their habitats.
Jovan Andevski was born in Skopje, Macedonia, and studied Biology there. His first working experience was as a project assistant on a vulture conservation project in Macedonia (2003). Since 2008 he is working as the coordinator for the Balkan Vulture Action Plan, firstly for the Black Vulture Conservation Foundation, then for the Frankfurt Zoological Society and since 2013 for the Vulture Conservation Foundation. During the last 10 years he worked on vulture research and conservation, project management and coordination in the Balkan region and Spain, and has also been involved in the Black Vulture reintroduction project in France and the Griffon Vulture reintroduction project in Bulgaria. For the LIFE GypHelp project Jovan works as a science officer for actions against poison.
Franziska Lörcher has her first encounter with Bearded Vultures already as a girl when the first three young vultures where released in Switzerland. After an apprenticeship as an optician and several years working she completed high-school and studied biology in Bern and Zurich in Switzerland. For her Masters’ thesis she got back to the bearded vultures. She investigated the genetic diversity of the reintroduced Bearded Vulture population in the Alps. Today she works for the Swiss Foundation for the Conservation of the Bearded Vulture. She is responsible for the observation of the released young Bearded Vultures and other tasks.