The ecologists have received EUR 7 million for 20 vultures.
The recovery of the population of the cinereous vulture in Bulgaria has become a money bag for the Greens, an investigation by newspaper Trud shows.
According to the Red Book of the Republic of Bulgaria the bird is absent from the territory of the country. In order to bring the species back in the Bulgarian nature, the European Commission allocated significant funds under the LIFE programme. However, instead of observing positive developments, the reports on dead cinereous vultures have increased in the past months.
The reason is that almost all multi-million projects dedicated to the recovery of the population are implemented by organizations members of the For Nature in Bulgaria coalition. The eco union is a part of the Green Movement party, which, in turn, is in the Democratic Bulgaria coalition, together with Hristo Ivanov’s Yes Bulgaria and Atanas Atanasov’s Democrats for Strong Bulgaria
For the past ten years the European funding for the return of the cinereous vulture has been appropriated by Green Balkans – Stara Zagora, the Wild Flora and Fauna Fund and the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds (BSPB).
As Trud have discovered in their investigations through the years, For Nature in Bulgaria are carrying out political activities and their eco projects are serving as a screen for these activities. The “conservation” projects of the organizations in the coalition is of doubtful benefit to both the environment and the Bulgarian society. A question that often comes up is whether the “ecologists” use the European funding for politics. No one has ever given a firm negative answer to this enquiry.
The main project is titled Bright Future for the Black Vulture and has a total funding of EUR 3 483 411, of which EUR 2.6 million come from the EC and the remainder comes from co-financing. It is implemented by Green Balkans – Stara Zagora in partnership with the Wild Flora and Fauna Fund.
The implementation of the project started in the summer of 2015 and is planned to end in 2022. The main goal is to import a total of 48 cinereous vultures in Bulgaria and release them in the wild. The first bird was introduced in April last year. It did not live long. According to a report on the website of Green Balkans, the female vulture Extremadura was found dead two months ago. It had died of electric shock after bumping into power lines near the village of Malogradets, Antonovo municipality.
The vulture was part of a group of 10 birds released in Bulgaria by the contractors of the project. Less than a week ago the “green” organization announced the death of another cinereous vulture named Sliven. He was donated by the Spanish government and released in Bulgaria in 2019, but was found death in a reservoir in Ukraine.
The greatest commotion was caused by the death of the cinereous vulture Ultron, killed by poachers. He was shot in the beginning of the month and died 19 days later. The bird was donated by a Belgian zoo.
But while many Bulgarians in the social networks are appalled by the killing of Ultron, no one mentions how the “green” organizations “introducing” the extinct species receive great amounts of money from the EC. Still, they are definitely not up to the task.
Other projects connected directly to the recovery of the bird’s populations are “Protection of the cinereous vulture and the griffon vulture in the trans-border areas of the Rhodope Mountains” and “Recovery of the populations of the big vultures in Bulgaria.”
The first project is worth EUR 2 199 961 and is implemented by the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds (BSPB). The second project, worth EUR 1 332 328, is again in the hands of Green Balkans – Stara Zagora.
The European Commission started to fund the recovery of the cinereous vulture in Bulgaria around ten years ago. The interesting question is how many individuals of this rare species are flying in the Bulgarian sky now, in 2020. The answer is: less than 20. This is the number of birds released from the beginning of the project “Bright Future for the Black Vulture”. Considering the individuals that died, the number is about 17, maybe even less. The information about the 20 vultures was given on Tuesday on Bulgarian National Television by a representative of the Wild Flora and Fauna Fund.
What do the facts show? Since 2015 the “greens” have released less than half of the 48 cinereous vultures envisaged in the Bright Future for the Black Vulture programme. They have two years to provide the remaining individuals. But how, since in 5 years they have not managed to complete even 50% of the task, would they achieve the goal until 2022, when the project expires? And will they give the money back to Brussels, as it usually happens in case of failure of activities supported by European funding? Since the vultures are 20 and the EC has allocated approximately EUR 7 million to this initiative, the cost per bird turns out to be about EUR 350 000 per bird. It is quite an amount.
Meanwhile Green Balkans – Stara Zagora report strange activities under Bright Future for the Black Vulture, such as “3 to 5 agro-silvo pastoral complexes created as well as a herd of 200 free fallow deer living there;” or “established sheep flocks and cow herds breeding models for making the extensive livestock breeding popular and set up a special farmers' association to support local breeders” and “two newly restored souslik colonies in the target areas”. And, of course “ameliorated national expertise and capacity, established and strengthen partnerships with international experts and organizations, involved with vulture conservation.”
It is obvious that regardless of the great amounts of money allocated to the recovery of the black vulture’s population, the “green” beneficiaries of the European funding cannot boast with a positive result.
The truth is that they like it better this way. Brussels will continue to give millions until the bird makes a comeback in Bulgaria. So, the dead vultures are clean profit for the “ecologists”, rather than a loss.