On November 29, a one-day seminar was held in the town of Belene, dedicated to the conservation activities of the Dalmatian pelican in Bulgaria. The event was organized by the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds (BSPS) with the support of the Directorate of the Persina Nature Park Directorate – Belene and within the framework of the “Pelican Way of LIFE” initiative.
The workshop aimed to present to the stakeholders the state of the breeding population of the species in the country, the current conservation measures, the information activities and campaigns dedicated to the pelican, as well as to discuss future activities that should be undertaken in the nearest future.
37 experts from various stakeholders took part in the seminar: Nature Parks, Regional Environment and Water Inspectorates, Institute of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Research at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Regional Museum of History, State Forestry Departments, Municipalities, Hunting and Fishing Associations, Regional Directorate of Forestry, tourist organizations and associations, business representatives, as well as representatives of environmental NGOs – BSPB, Green Balkans, Bulgarian Biodiversity Foundation (BBF) and WWF-Bulgaria.
The meeting started with an introduction by Eng. Stella Bozhinova – director of Persina Nature Park. After that, Veselin Koev – Chief Biodiversity Expert at Persina Nature Park presented the activities to restore the nesting site of the Dalmatian pelican on the Persin island. Svilen Cheshmedzhiev from BSPB presented to the participants of the meeting interesting facts about the biology of the species, the current state of the nesting sites colonies in the Kalimok-Brashlen Protected Area and in Srebarna Lake, as well as ringing and satellite telemetry activities, also being part of the “Pelican Way of LIFE” initiative.
The afternoon session was devoted to information and educational activities. Daniela Karakasheva – Chief Specialist “Public Relations” at the Persina Nature Park presented the educational activities organized by the Nature Park, emphasizing the Pelican Festival, which was held in 2022 for the second year in a row. Radostina Tsenova from BBF presented information activities and campaigns promoting the protection of Dalmatian pelicans in the city of Burgas.
At the end of the meeting, the participants discussed various topics related to the conservation of this majestic species in the country. Special attention was paid to the ecological disaster with the Dalmatian pelican in Greece in the spring of 2022, caused by avian influenza (the so-called bird flu), the work on the construction of the wooden nesting platforms, the survey and monitoring methods, the conflict of people with fish-eating birds, joint patrol schemes, as well as cases of collisions of birds with power lines and installation of diverters. Various informational and educational activities aimed at popularizing pelicans among the general public were also discussed. Within the framework of the initiative, it is planned to organize at least two more similar stakeholder workshops in the coming years.
The “Pelican Way of LIFE” (LIFE18/NAT/NL/000716) is funded by the LIFE Programme of the European Union and Arcadia Foundation. The initiative is coordinated by Rewilding Europe, in partnership with the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds (BSPB), the Romanian Ornithological Society/BirdLife Romania (SOR), the Hellenic Ornithological Society (HOS), the Persina Nature Park Directorate – Belene, Rewilding Ukraine and Rewilding Danube Delta.