Save the Raptors

Activities, Wildlife Crimes

Having started the LIFE+ Project "Conservation of Imperial Eagle and Saker Falcon in key Natura 2000 sites in Bulgaria" (or shortly “Save the Raptors”), the BSPB has become the NGO leader in the prevention of crimes against wildlife.

What is a 'crime against wildlife'? Such crimes include illegal catching of animals, plundering of nests, stealing of the eggs and of chicks from the wild; trafficking and trading in protected species; use of illegal and non-selective methods for bait hunting, and poisoning; shooting by poachers; illegal taxidermy etc. All these activities are serious crimes sanctioned strictly by the law. According to the Penal Code of the Republic of Bulgaria: "Any person destroying, catching, retaining or selling a wild vertebrate specimen endangered in Europe or globally without the required permit, shall be imprisoned for up to 5 years and fined BGN 1,000 to 5,000, and shall provide compensation for the damages caused."

Such crimes have lead globally endangered species such as the Saker falcon to the bring of extinction from Bulgaria's nature. Many years of targeted plundering of nests and poisoning by pigeon breeders have lead to a situation in which no nesting pair of Saker falcons has been registered in our country.

How can we oppose such crimes against wildlife? The BSPB has been working actively with all institutions - the Police, the Prosecutor's Office, the Customs Agency, the Ministry of Environment and Waters and the local authorities, during the past four years. The BSPB has organised a series of seminars and training sessions for representatives of the enforcement authorities and of the Customs office, meetings with the local authorities, and a workshop for the media.

Until a few years ago this type of crime had been highly underestimated and not among the priorities of the state authorities. Today, our efforts have already produced results - perpetrators have already been captured and accusations brought against them, and better understanding has been established about how robbing Bulgaria's nature deprives the future generations of the riches of our country's nature.

Shooted Imperial Eagle Darik II, photo: BSPB

Should you witness any crime against wildlife or if you doubt that such crime is being perpetrated, please, contact us at (02) 8465919 or the National emergency number 112.