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​The Ambassador of Spain in Bulgaria visited the Green Balkans as part of the Vultures Back to LIFE project

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The Ambassador of Spain in Bulgaria recently visited the Green Balkans Wildlife Rescue Center and the vulture aviary at the “Sinite kamani” Nature park within the Vultures Back to LIFE Project. Spain plays a vital role in supporting the reintroduction efforts of Griffon and Cinereous Vultures in Bulgaria. 

Visit of Spanish Ambassador at the Green Balkans

The Spanish Аmbassador in Bulgaria, Alejandro Polanco, accompanied by his wife and part of his team, recently visited the Green Balkans Wildlife Rescue Center in Stara Zagora and the vulture aviary in the “Sinite Kamani” Nature Park as part of the Vultures Back to LIFE project. 

At the Centre, the Manager welcomed the Ambassador and introduced him to some of the residents, including, the Tawny Owl Chara, as well as other birds. The Ambassador, accompanied by the Director of the “Ivan Pavlov” National Vocational School of Veterinary Medicine in Stara Zagora, Dr Yabalkarov, got acquainted with the Center’s breeding programme and the Cinereous Vulture pair – Keyo and Cherna that arrived from the Netherlands and Spain respectively. Another interesting part of the visit was the operation of an injured Griffon Vulture, performed at the Center’s clinic.

Later on the same day, the Аmbassador visited the vulture acclimatization aviary at “Sinite Kamani” Nature Park and was welcomed by the Vultures Back to LIFE project team and partners from the “Sinite Kamani” Nature Park. The mayor of Sliven, Mr. Radev, as well as representatives from the Regional Directorate of Forestry, along with the Mountain Rescue Service and many citizens also attended the event. The guests got acquainted with the variety of species in the park, giving special attention to vultures. 

The highlight of the visit was the release of a Griffon Vulture from the aviary in the park. The honour went to Z4 – a Griffon Vulture, found in distress and rescued in Spain in 2017, transported to Bulgaria and settled in the aviary in 2018. Before being released, Z4 got a name – Regina (from the Spanish “Reina” – meaning queen).

Role of Spain in international vulture conservation projects

Spain plays an invaluable role in supporting the comeback of vultures in other countries, including Bulgaria. The country has donated over 300 Griffon and over 30 Cinereous Vultures within the reintroduction projects. As part of the Vultures Back to LIFE project, a total of 60 vultures have have been successfully released in the past five years thanks to the support of Spain. 

Spain has around 3,000 Cinereous Vulture pairs and 30,000 Griffon Vulture pairs, allowing the country to provide birds and support reintroduction programmes for vultures in Europe. The VCF cooperates with the Spanish ministry and the regional governments of Junta de Extremadura and Junta de Andalucía – securing Griffon and Cinereous vultures for the reintroduction projects and collaborating in the implementation of anti-poisoning actions.

A big thank you to the Ambassador and Spain for the continuous support in vulture conservation!

Photo Credits: Green Balkans 

Vultures Back to LIFE

Led by the wildlife conservation charity Green Balkans, with activities also implemented by the Fund for Wild Flora and Fauna, and bringing together partners from Bulgaria, Spain and Germany, Vultures Back to LIFE aims to reintroduce the cinereous or Eurasian black vulture to Bulgaria. The team will transfer and release around 60 birds, some from captive-breeding, but mostly coming from wildlife rehabilitation centers in Extremadura (Spain) into the wild in Bulgaria as well as creating supplementary feeding stations and improving populations of wild herbivores, improving the nesting conditions and creating artificial nest sites and tackling some of the major threats to vultures in the country such as insulating electricity pylons and illegal use of poison in the nature.

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