We are very excited that the European Commission has approved two Life-Nature proposals that Rewilding Europe and partners submitted in October 2014. This provides a strong boost to our work in two rewilding areas, Southern Carpathians in Romania and Rhodope Mountains in Bulgaria.
The first proposal is called “Urgent actions for the recovery of European Bison populations in Romania”, developed by Rewilding Europe and WWF Romania to support the reintroduction of the European bison into the Tarçu Mountains Natura 2000 site in the Southern Carpathians rewilding landscape. The funding will be used to build a viable population of European bison in this area, by releasing in total 100 animals in the coming five years. Through LIFE Nature, the Commission will provide 75% of in total 1,809,421 euro, which is an amount of 1,357,066 euro for the period 2016-2020. Rewilding Europe and its partner organisations will provide the remaining 25% of this budget as co-funding.
Apart from the reintroductions and the infrastructure needed for two different reintroduction sites, a substantial part of the funding will be used to work with the local communities and stakeholders to ensure they fully participate in and benefit from the initiative. Therefore, enterprise development connected to bison, monitoring by bison rangers, a youth programme, training, research and capacity building, a visitor center, an indoor exhibition, reducing possible human-bison conflict, and promotion of local products related to bison are also among the activities.
The second proposal is called “Conservation of Black and Griffon vultures in the cross-border Rhodope Mountains”, developed by Rewilding Europe in partnership with Rewilding Rhodopes Foundation, Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds/Birdlife Bulgaria, WWF Greece, Vulture Conservation Foundation and Hellenic Ornithological Society/BirdLife Greece. The project will focus on the recovery and further expansion of the black and griffon vulture populations in this part of the Balkan region, mainly by improving natural prey availability and reducing mortality factors such as poaching, poisoning and impact of power lines.
To achieve this, a large number of actions is planned for, including studies about dispersal and movements of vultures (20 black and 20 griffon vultures will be equipped with GPS transmitters); increase food availability through wild prey releases such as red and fallow deer (which through wolf kills leads to carcass availability); creating a trained dog unit to locate poisoning cases; a children’s programme at the Vulture Information Centre in Madzharovo; support of local businesses linked to vulture watching (including building of professional hides); support of related local products; reducing collision and electrocution by power lines – the latter through insulation of at least 250 dangerous power poles and bird diverters mounted at 2,5 km of power lines.
Through LIFE Nature, the European Commission will provide 75% for this project in Bulgaria and Greece of in total 2,198,572 euro, which is an amount of 1,648,015 euro for the period 2016-2020. Rewilding Europe and its partner organisations will provide the remaining 25% of this budget as co-funding, partly through already secured funding from Fondation Segré.
The LIFE programme is the EU’s funding instrument for the environment and climate action. The general objective of LIFE is to contribute to the implementation, updating and development of EU environmental and climate policy and legislation by co-financing projects with European added value. The European Commission manages the LIFE programme.