The project

The project ‘Securing the recovery of the endangered Saker Falcon in Bulgaria and Southern Romania’ is dedicated to the restoration and conservation of the endangered species Falco Cherrug in 28 Natura 2000 areas. The overarching concept of this project is to boost the population recovery by reducing the impact of the main threats combined with external efforts of an ongoing restocking project in Bulgaria that has proven to be successful already.

Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds is the coordinating beneficiary of the project in partnership with Green Balkans, Romanian Ornithological Society, Union of Hunters and Anglers in Bulgaria, Institute of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Research at the Bulgarian at Academy of Sciences, The Habitat Foundation, and Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen.

The project Securing the recovery of the endangered Saker Falcon in Bulgaria and Southern Romania (LIFE20 NAT/BG/001162) is of 5 years duration and has received funding from the LIFE Programme of the European Union.


The re-establishment of the Saker falcon will be supported by improving the quality of the nesting habitat by building safe nesting platforms and boosting foraging resources. The improvement of the habitats will also facilitate the recolonization by Saker falcons known to emanate from Hungary and disperse regularly to Bulgaria and Romania. This project’s strategy builds on four pillars that will result in tangible improvement of the conservation context for the species by:
  • Reducing the anthropogenic threats such as electrocution and persecution facing Saker falcons in both their breeding areas and in the potential areas of natural recolonization, thus enhancing the potential for both natural recolonization and the restocking programme
  • Creating preconditions that will enable the increases of the preferred key prey species for the Saker falcon, by implementing restocking and reintroduction of hamsters, souslik and wild pigeons
  • Ensuring long-term protection and proper restoration and management of key grassland habitats by purchase of 100 ha of land by the coordinating beneficiary. Those habitat harbors colonial prey species so even relatively small plots would play important role
  • Improving the breeding habitats
  • Substantially increase the awareness, understanding and capacity for support by key stakeholder groups to enable that the project actions and their conservation impacts will be sustained

Life Programme

The LIFE Programme is the EU’s funding instrument for the environment and climate action. The programme was set up in 1992 to finance projects in the EU countries. Its general objective is to contribute to the implementation, updating and development of EU environmental and climate policy and legislation by co-financing projects with European added value. From 1992 to 2020 LIFE has co-financed some 4600 projects across the EU, with a total contribution of approximately 6.5 billion Euros to the protection of the environment and of climate. The programme is managed by the European Commission.

Natura 2000

Natura 2000 is a pan-European network of protected sites aimed at ensuring the long-term survival of Europe’s most valuable and endangered species and habitats in accordance with the main international agreements in the field of environmental protection and biodiversity.
The sites belonging to the ecological network are determined in accordance with two main environmental directives of the European Union – Directive 92/43 / EEC on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora (hereinafter referred to as the Habitats Directive) and Directive 2009/147 / EU on the conservation of wild birds (hereinafter referred to as the Birds Directive). Both directives are reflected in the Bulgarian legislation through the Biodiversity Act and in Romania.

The LIFE for Falcons project operates in 23 Natura 2000 protected sites in Bulgaria and 5 sites in Southeastern Romania.