Rhodope Mountains Rewilding Initiative

Timeframe: 2015 - 2019
Country/Region: Bulgaria, Europe
Partner: Rewilding Europe

Rewilding Europe’s mission is to make Europe a wilder place with more space for wildlife, wilderness and natural processes. In 2014, the Eastern Rhodope Mountains were selected by Rewilding Europe as an area where to implement this strategy, an initiative which Fondation Segré decided to support.

The Eastern Rhodope Mountains host the highest concentration of birds of prey, bats, reptiles and amphibians of Europe. It also is the only breeding area for Griffon vultures in Bulgaria and the most important breeding site for the globally threatened Egyptian vulture on the Balkan peninsula. Thanks to the successful conservation efforts done by various local NGOs in the past two decades, the populations of many threatened species have recovered. At the same time, villages and larger areas have been abandoned providing more space for nature and natural processes, as well as offering new and interesting opportunities for conservation of species and habitats.

The funding from Foundation Segré will be used for building on and scaling up previous conservation efforts, pursuing the main following goals:

1. Maintain and support the comeback of a set of key species, such as black vulture, Egyptian vulture, Griffon vulture, fallow deer and red deer.

2. With help of wild ungulates and free‐ranging horses, maintain open/semi‐open areas essential for the unique herpetofauna, flora and insects.

3. Attract the local entrepreneurs to support the conservation efforts through a combination of wildlife relevant business developments and marketing.