LIFE22-NAT-BG-Bearded Vulture LIFE-101113869
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11.03.2024

Interesting Observation Provides Hope for the Restoration of Wild Goats in Eastern Balkan Mountains


In early March, a team from the Fund for Wild Flora and Fauna, part of the project "Bearded Vulture LIFE" observed a wild goat in the Kotlenska Mountain. The observation is interesting and important because the wild goat is not commonly found in the area, or at least there have been no data on it until recently. The restoration of the wild goat, as a potential food source for the Bearded Vulture, is one of the goals of the vulture recovery program.

"Our goal is to restore this attractive species, but it will not be an easy task," shared the Project Manager Ivelin Ivanov. "Capturing individuals in the wild is extremely difficult, as is their transportation and adaptation. For us, this will be a major challenge that we hope to overcome", Ivanov added.

The wild goat in Bulgaria is of the subspecies Balkan wild goat - Rupicapra rupicapra balcanica. It is listed in Annex II of Council Directive 92/43 of the European Economic Community of May 21, 1992, on the conservation of natural habitats and wild fauna and flora. The wild goat is also included in the "Red Book" of Bulgaria in the category of "Endangered species".

Currently, it is found only in a few isolated locations in the Balkan Mountains. The main part of the population is in Bulgaria, with small herds also found in North Macedonia, Greece, and Serbia. In all locations, the species is highly vulnerable or on the verge of extinction, with the species already absent from some habitats.

In Bulgaria, wild goats are currently distributed in four of the high mountains - Rila, Pirin, Rhodopes, and Balkan Mountains. The population in the Balkan Mountains is completely isolated and, as a result of a sharp decline in numbers, is threatened with extinction. There, it is found in the Central Balkan National Park and recently - in the territory of the Bulgarka Nature Park. In 2021, a wild goat was observed in the Blue Stones Nature Park, giving us hope that we can restore the species in the park's territory.

"The presence of livestock, raised grazing, as well as wild animals such as chamois or wild goats, is important for vultures. The natural carcasses of adult or sick animals in the past have sustained the vulture population," explained the project team.

The main challenge for the restoration of the wild goat and chamois is poaching. Therefore, the Green Balkans team, the Fund for Wild Flora and Fauna, and the Sinite Kamani Nature Park Directorate call on all responsible hunters, as well as tourists in the Balkan Mountains, to assist us in the return of these beautiful animals by sending us information about their observations and helping us prevent poaching.

For additional information,
Emiliyan Stoynov - Fund for Wild Flora and Fauna - е-mail: pirin@fwff.org

Ivelin Ivanov - Manager of the Project "Bearded Vulture LIFE", Green Balkans, mobile +359 887589995, e-mail: iivanov@greenbalkans.org