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Green Balkans in partnership with Turkish nature conservation organizations for the protection of rare species of birds in the border areas of the European Green Belt initiative

Jan. 29, 2024
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The project is aimed at conservation, support and research of rare and protected species of birds - Lesser kestrel and Imperial eagle in the border regions of Bulgaria and Turkey. Key habitats for both species are concentrated in the border territories falling within the scope of the former "Iron Curtain", and today united in the international European Green Belt initiative.

The partner of Green Balkans is the Turkish organization "Back to Nature", and the joint activities are part of a large-scale international project - BESTbelt, implemented with the financial support of the European Union.

Within the framework of the joint activities, Bulgarian conservationists and their Turkish colleagues will carry out a series of targeted conservation activities, such as afforestation with tree species suitable for nesting, installation of artificial nesting platforms for both species, marking, and tracking with satellite transmitters, etc. These activities are intended to support the conservation of the rare birds in the border areas of the two countries. Given the long-term experience of Green Balkans, one of the main goals of the project is to share successful environmental protection practices with Turkish partners.

In the middle of January, the field activities of the project started, and the first field observations of several of the nests of the Imperial eagle in the area of the city of Edirne in Turkey were carried out. Although the birds are not yet in breeding season, a large number of pairs inhabit the nesting grounds and stick to their nests more and more often. It is an interesting fact that for the region of Turkey, the use of power grid poles for nesting by the Imperial eagles is not rare event, while in Bulgaria, none of the known several dozen pairs of this species use similar facilities as nesting sites.

Both volunteers and students from the University of Thrace in Stara Zagora, under the guidance of their teacher Dr. Rusko Petrov, participated in the field survey.

The implementation of the project will continue within two years, with direct conservation activities being complemented by information and educational campaigns on both sides of the border.