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Remarkable Surge in Griffon Vulture Population Sets New Record in Bulgaria

Following the winter census conducted by BSPB in the Eastern Rhodopes, where 323 griffon vultures were recorded, our team observed unprecedented numbers in the Eastern Balkan Mountain (Kotel – 93 individuals). The combined count across all four reintroduction sites in the country—East Balkan Mountain, Vrachanski Balkan, Kresna, and Central Balkan—reached a historic high of 197 individuals. This remarkable tally contributes to a national record of 523 griffon vultures, nearly half of the Balkan population (excluding islands) in countries like Bulgaria, Serbia, Greece, and North Macedonia.

Both Kresna and Vrachanski Balkan demonstrate stability with 50 and 53 individuals, respectively, and anticipate further growth. Excitingly, new establishments include ongoing reintroduction efforts in Central Balkan (4 individuals) and Sakar, where birds from the Eastern Rhodopes have self-settled, and reintroduced individuals in Balkan Mountain are thriving (3 individuals in the current count, with 34 individuals weeks ago, and a consistent presence recently). Counting in Sakar presents challenges due to birds dispersing in trees rather than roosting on rocks.

The population surge is a testament to the enduring dedication of Bulgaria’s nature conservation community. The organic growth of autochthonous colonies in the Eastern Rhodopes contributes birds to reintroduction sites in Balkan Mountain and Kresna, and vice versa. Since 2010, supported locations in Bulgaria have not only attracted more wintering individuals from Serbia and Greece but have also enhanced the survival rates of these majestic birds, leading to the augmentation of subpopulations.

News' source: Fund for Wild Flora and Fauna (FWFF)

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