Home Actions Bulgaria

Several actions were planned within this project in Bulgaria:

  • Regular technical meetings of the national coordinators of on-the ground actors (National parks staff and the experts from Balkani Wildlife Society) and the associated beneficiaries;
  • Training sessions for project staff and local stakeholders in the working areas in previous LIFE project dealing with large carnivores co-existence problems and solutions. There, the Bulgarian participants gained experience from the successes and main problems encountered;
  • Stakeholder analysis in Bulgaria included the identification of the most important local groups affected by the bear - their community roles and attitudes, their traditional knowledge, needs and beliefs. The analysis has been carried out by the project staff with the support of a consultant specialized in this kind of studies.
  • Preliminary bear damage assessment has been be done by collecting filed data through questionnaires and official protocol assessment;
  • Creation of bear GPS database in the study areas. Mark-recapture methods based on DNA sample has been used in two model areas - Central Balkan and Smolian region. A pilot census has been tested based on observation of hunters on bears or their tracks on snow in November-December. The results have then been compared and verified with the results of mark-recaptures methods (DNA). Eight bears have be captured and fit with GPS collars. Camera traps have been set near bating areas, on hair trap sites and on trails to monitor the territory use, types of bate preferred for trapping and marking with collars, etc...;
  • Development of a GIS database - the geographic locations of damage caused by the carnivores have been be plotted, in order to have a spatial database of the actual situation. Areas with heavier damage have been identified and correlations with the environmental variables of the surrounding landscape have been sought, in order to characterize the environment where damage more often occurs.
Concrete conservation actions
  • Training for general conservation actors in the target areas. It included visiting the other project areas for exchanging best practices and experience about the procedures adopted in these realities and training about field techniques for damage assessment and evaluation and about communication techniques and relationships with stakeholder groups;
  • Stakeholder consultation and involvement - workshops have been made with representatives of the local stakeholder groups, in order to make sure that the specific issues that are important for these groups are given enough importance;
  • Donation of electric fences - their distribution has been determined by the outcome of the analysis by the amount of damage caused by bears. The responsible staff has regularly visited the livestock owners with these electric fences has filled in questionnaires, collecting information on all depredation events and the conditions in which they happened. The data from holdings with electric fences have been compared against data from holdings with no electric fences, and holdings with electric fences from other areas;
  • Development of long-term damage monitoring action plans - In Bulgaria such damage monitoring plan is included in the bear management plan and in the National Biodiversity Monitoring system which local authorities are obliged to follow. A new regulation has been developed to relate the compensations paid to the damage monitoring and prevention measures;
  • Establishments of Bear Emergency Team (BET) - five Bear Emergency Teams have been formed. The teams were be trained to assess all bear related situations - tranquilizing and releasing illegally trapped bears, assessment of damages done by bears, chasing or trapping/marking problem bears;
  • Public awareness about large carnivores and dissemination of project results through public education campaigns, information campaign about optimal management techniques, information panels and this website and forum discussion.
Credits: Alexandar Dutsov

 

Credits: Konstadin Valchev

 

Credits: Biser Velinov - Rei Smolian

 

Credits: Alexandar Dutsov