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Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria

Ragyov D.,Bulgarian Academy of Science | Biserkov V.,Bulgarian Academy of Science | Gradev G.,Green Balkans Federation NGOs | Ivanov I.,Green Balkans Federation NGOs | And 4 more authors.
Acta Zoologica Bulgarica

Evidence for the presence of sakers in Bulgaria dates from 1500-3000 years ago. The first documented records of breeding sakers go back to the 13thcentury. We collected 337 breeding records of sakers in Bulgaria (1860-2013), comprising 176 locations (52 Confirmed, 16 Probable and 108 Possible). Our study suggests that in the 19thcentury the species was scarce and/or localised in its distribution range, with a declining population. The decline has continued through 20thand 21stCenturies. Recently, 94% of the total number of the known breeding locations were surveyed (N=165; including all Probable and Confirmed locations and 90% of the Possible locations). The survey covered 31,000 km2(c. 28% of Bulgarian territory) and revealed more than 33% of the known breeding populations of Long-legged Buzzard, Peregrine Falcon, Golden Eagle, Imperial Eagle and Egyptian Vulture. Only 3 sakers (single birds) were recorded in 2011, 2012 and 2013, with no further confirmation for the breeding. The last documented Confirmed breeding records were in 1997 (a successfully fledged young) and 1998 (the nest failed during the nestling period). The restoration of the saker breeding population requires an integrated approach, by operating at various scales from the landscape to the species level. Source

Stoynov E.,Fund for Wild Flora and Fauna | Parvanov D.,Sofia University | Grozdanov A.,Sofia University
Bulgarian Journal of Agricultural Science

As a result of this study, twelve new localities were discovered and four indigenous species (noble crayfish - Astacus astacus, narrow-clawed crayfish - Astacus leptodactylus, stone crayfish - Austropotamobius torrentium and Potamon ibericum) were found in a relatively small area in the upper reaches of the Kamchiya River - Kotel Mountain (Eastern Stara Planina Mountain, Bulgaria). Extremely rare in Europe mixed populations of A. torrentium and A. astacus were detected in Golyama Kamchiya and Luda Kamchiya Rivers. The ratio of A. torrentium to A. astacus in the total catch decreased considerably from habitats with large stones and high water velocity to sites with small stones and relatively slow velocity for both locations with observed mixed populations. The obtained results are important for the development of management strategies with the aim of better crayfish and crab habitat protection in the circumstances of increasing anthropogenic impact. Source

Stoynov E.,Fund for Wild Flora and Fauna | Grozdanov A.,Sofia University | Peshev H.,Fund for Wild Flora and Fauna | Peshev D.,Sofia University
Bulgarian Journal of Agricultural Science

The present research concentrates on the actual status of the Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus) in Southwest Bulgaria and the factors for the species critical decrease in the last decade. Information for the extinction of the last breeding pair in the region was included. The last successful breeding was documented in 2003. The research also covered observations during migration period and observations of non-breeding individuals. Conservation specifics for the species were presented in relation with the Griffon vulture reintroduction activities in the area. As a result of the regular artificial feeding, one immature individual was attracted and observed in Kresna gorge for a period of two months. The regular observations of the bird present the first success of species recent conservation, after the loss of all breeding pairs in the region. Supplemental feeding was also identified as a positive measure applied for the breeding pair in 2003. Two chicks were fledged successfully in the same year. Recommendations for future conservation activities were made. Source

Stoynov E.,Fund for Wild Flora and Fauna | Grozdanov A.,Sofia University | Stanchev S.,Fund for Wild Flora and Fauna | Peshev H.,Fund for Wild Flora and Fauna | And 2 more authors.
Bulgarian Journal of Agricultural Science

To minimize and avoid Man/Predators conflict based on depredation on livestock and to secure safe environment for the vultures in SW Bulgaria, where the usage of poison baits as a revenge towards predators is a serious threat, we have studied wolf Canis lupus Linnaeus, 1758 - livestock conflict in the Struma River Valley and surrounding mountains. We have investigated patterns over 300 verified wolf attacks on livestock between 2004 and 2013. Although we used different methodology to obtain data (namely claims for compensation instead of inquiry), but also longer period of collection, our data generally supports the statement of (Iliopoulos et al., 2009) concerning the expectations of depredation on different livestock types in terms of their availability. Most of the results we had received fully resembled these of the cited study in Central Greece. We set up and tasted some theories in order to avoid or minimize livestock depredation as follows: 1. The higher the number of the herd, the higher the exposition to depredation; 2. The higher the number of the guarding dogs, the lesser the depredation rate; 3. The mixed herds of sheep and goats are more exposed to depredation than the herds of sheep and goats raised separately; 4. The goats are more exposed to depredation because of their grazing manner; 5. Improving the night corrals for sheep and goats eliminates the extreme cases of depredation; 6. The herds grazing on rough terrain and bushy pastures with forest patches are more exposed to depredation; 7. Shifting from sheep or goats rearing to cattle breeding may reduce the rate of depredation in a certain holding. All mentioned theories were proven to be true with different rate of significance. There are two #5 and #7 that we consider could drastically change the situation and decrease the rate of depredation over livestock in SW Bulgaria while some important specific measures should be applied. We have noticed that the actual rate of depredated cattle comes from the higher portion of killed calves up to 120 kg live body mass. The total percentage of depredated cattle is 13.67% of all reported cases, (10.16% attacks over calves with less then 120 kg body mass and 3.51% cows). This might have conservation implications, if calves were kept in enclosures and weren’t exposed to predators until reaching higher body mass. We proposed two livestock breeders to shift from sheep and mixed sheep and goat herds to cattle. Thus one of the involved livestock breeders in the experiment has shifted from 120 sheep to about 20 cows, while the other from 120 sheep and 50 goats established a new herd of 25 cows. The two herds increased soon after to 32 and 41 cows and calves respectively. From about 40 and 60 depredation cases over the projected sheep and mixed sheep and goats herds in 2010 and 2011 the newly established cattle herds were not attacked at all for the period 2012–October 2013, although the wolf presence was still noticed in the observed areas. © 2014, National Centre for Agrarian Sciences. All rights reserved. Source

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