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The number of griffon vultures breeding and roosting in Eastern Rhodopes continues to increase

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The breeding colony of griffon vultures in the Eastern Rhodopes (Bulgaria) continues to grow. Figures from the annual census of wintering griffon vultures on the Balkan Peninsula, organized last November by the Bulgarian Society for the protection of Birds (BSPB), counted a total of 184 griffons there, up from 178 last year – this is the highest annual roost count in the Eastern Rhodopes since counts started in 2005.

This annual monitoring is carried out at the beginning of the winter season, just before the start of the vulture’s breeding season, in Bulgaria, Greece, Serbia and Macedonia.  In the Rhodopes the roost survey was carried out by experts and volunteers from Rewilding Rhodopes Foundation and the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds (BSPB), partners with the VCF in the LIFE Re-Vultures.

In the other colonies in Bulgaria (Stara Planina and Kresna Gorge), site of griffon vulture reintroduction, 123 griffon vultures were counted – up from 108 last year.

The eastern Rhodopes colony is Bulgaria´s biggest – last summer a total of 52 juveniles hatched and 49 fledged, with an overall breeding success of 0,78, slightly higher than the average for the last 20 years.

The griffons are being monitored as part of the LIFE project “Conservation of Black and Griffon vultures in the cross-border Rhodope Mountains”, led by Rewilding Europe in partnership with Rewilding Rhodopes Foundation, Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds, WWF Greece, the VCF and the Hellenic Ornithological Society.

The project aims to recovery and further expand the black and griffon vulture populations in this part of the Balkans, mainly by improving natural prey availability and reducing mortality factors such as poaching, poisoning and electrocution and collision with power lines. The project continues to provide food at supplementary feeding points: last December a ton of offal and carcasses were provided, for example.

Photos. Rewilding Europe, BSPB, VCF

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