Newborn Griffon Vultures in Eastern Rhodopes
Four newborn Griffon Vultures (Gyps fulvus) has hatched in Eastern Rhodope Mountains in Bulgaria this spring. They were spotted by the team of the Bulgarian-Dutch Project „New Tracian Gold“, that works for a sustainable development of the region. A few dozens of couples are still incubating their eggs. The first couples of Egyptian Vultures (Neophron percnopterus) also came back in Eastern Rhodopes and started to prepare their nests.
Thousands of vultures inhabited Bulgaria in the past, but their number decreased drastically in the middle of twentieth century after the mass campaigns of poisoning the wolfs. The vultures are listed in the Bulgaria’s Red Book of endangered species. In the 80-Th’s of the last century, a couple of vultures turns back to Rhodopes. Thanks to the care of the environmentalists of BSPB (Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds) about forty couples of Griffon Vultures nest in the area today. Their colonies are located in the territory of a few protected areas along the Arda River bed.
The Egyptian Vulture is a worldwide endangered species. A few centuries ago these birds use to nest even in the hills at the central parts of Plovdiv, the second biggest city in Bulgaria. Twenty years ago there was about a hundred couples of Egyptian Vultures in Bulgaria, while only 33 of them were monitored in 2010. If the process of decreasing the population continues with the same pace, Egyptian Vultures in Bulgaria will disappear completely in only 10 years. According to the BSPB data, 25 couples of Egyptian Vultures have nested in the Eastern Rhodopes in 2010, which is 75% of their total population in Bulgaria. Thanks to the regular efforts, their number is constant in the Eastern Rhodopes range for the last five years.
Every year, many tourists – nature lovers and photographers, visit the area to observe and photograph the vultures.