Help us save the European ground squirrel by filling in the data for the assessments of pressure on Natura 2000 protected areas

Jan. 20, 2023
European souslik
As part of the activities of the project Life for Falcons the Bulgarian Society for the protection of birds aims to analyze and assess the risk of destruction of the souslik colonies threatened by investment projects. The conservation of the threatened Saker Falcon multi-sided holistic approach is necessary, which the care about the small mammals, such as the souslik, has an important role. 

During the last two year the investment interest towards different types of projects and especially toward building photovoltaics upon one of the main souslik habitats – the grasslands – has increased. The projects for different agricultural activities also threaten the grasslands, where souslik lives. The European ground squirrel is globally threatened with extinction and it is a food base for the raptors, such as the Imperial Eagle and the Saker Falcon. In Bulgaria 30% of the colonies has disappeared in comparison to the 1950–1990 period and this trend is still ongoing. Pasture abandonment and overgrowth of bush deprive the species of their useful habitat where they find food and home. 

In order to assess the scale and the real impact of all those projects on the European ground squirrel in Bulgaria we need to fill in the information from the decisions of the Ministry of the Environment and Water in a special form. Thanks to the volunteers who participated in the first two editions of this campaign, organized with the help of the Coalition For the Nature, have been processed and analyzed more than 120 000 acts – decisions or letters, issued by the Ministry and its regional divisions. The goal of this enormous project is to assess and prevent the destruction of the Bulgarian nature and biodiversity. As a result of the analysis we will designate the colonies with the highest risk of destruction and we will take measures for their protection. This is a time-consuming task, but it is extremely important for the preparation of the new policies for environmental protection in the next 10 years.

That is why we need more volunteers, who will fill in the information from the decisions in the structured tables.

When and how?
The sooner you could join the campaign the better! You will receive not more than 250 letters for processing along with the Excel document and exact instructions by mail.

Necessary skills
Good working knowledge of Microsoft Office and tables.

We will provide you with all of the background information about the data to be processed, tables, instruction for its filling and help whenever you may face issues with the task.

Necessary equipment
Personal computer

How to participate?
Visit Time Heroes website and the page of the campaign and confirm your participation.

Start date: 20 January
End date: 31 March

Photo: © Yordan Koshev/IBEI