Bulgarian government fails birds, court rules

This video says about itself:

A Winter’s Tale from Bulgaria – “Red Breasted Geese

18 June 2012 …

Bulgaria’s other supporting winter wildlife is also a bit special. The mountain areas, still unchanged by time, can be hauntingly beautiful at this season, and the more urban Bourgas Lakes are brimming with birdlife.

Many thousands of European white-fronted geese, wintering wildfowl, grebes, divers, larks, woodpeckers, owls, pelicans; long-legged and rough-legged buzzards from the north; eagles and vultures in the Rhodope mountains.

From BirdLife:

Bulgarian Government condemned by Court for failing nature

By BirdLife Europe, Thu, 14/01/2016 – 12:00

According to a ruling at the European Court of Justice today, Bulgaria is failing to protect nature and putting threatened species at risk.

The country’s government hasn’t properly safeguarded a Natura 2000 site on the Kaliakra cape and adjacent coastal areas on the Black Sea, allowing a large number of developments to go ahead.

The region is part of the wintering grounds of the Red-breasted Goose, a globally threatened species, and it is on the migration route of thousands of birds, such as White Storks and Great White Pelicans.

Projects such as wind turbines, a golf course, spa and hotels have been approved and built in the area by Bulgarian authorities, despite the likelihood it would lead to significant disturbance of these protected species. As a result, the court has found Bulgaria to be breaching the EU’s Birds and Habitats Directives.

The Bulgarian government has also breached the Directives by failing to fully designate the Kaliakra area as a protected Natura 2000 site. Although the government had designated the coastline as part of the site, until recently it was not protecting the inland agricultural areas that are important for internationally important bird populations.

And it’s not just a problem for Bulgaria – the effects of poor planning in this area can be felt more widely across Europe. For example, many of the storks seen in Berlin will have passed through Kaliakra on their migration.

Commenting on the court’s ruling, Wouter Langhout, BirdLife Europe’s EU Nature Policy Officer, told us: “With this judgment, the European Court of Justice sends a strong message to Bulgaria. Natura 2000 sites shouldn’t be bulldozed and turned into golf courses, and windfarms can’t threaten major migration routes of birds. Member States need to stop allowing such sites to be destroyed and develop renewable energy in a way which protects nature.”

BirdLife’s Partner in Bulgaria, the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds (BSPB), has been fighting the continued degradation and destruction of this amazing wildlife site for more than a decade.

Stoycho Stoychev, BSPB’s Conservation Director, said: “The judgement of the European Court of Justice reminds us that the Law should be respected and fully implemented. This judgement creates a loud and clear need for the Bulgarian government to take immediate action to remove impacts on the damaged Natura 2000 sites. It is also important that Natura 2000 sites all over the country are properly protected and the Government should ensure that it does not allow damaging projects in Natura 2000 areas, but instead encourages sustainable development that is profitable both for nature and people.”

7 thoughts on “Bulgarian government fails birds, court rules

  1. I am not a birder, but I am disappointed by the Bulgarian government’s failure to protect its natural resources. Ask a Bulgarian what is good about the country and without fail s/he will say “the nature.” Thank you for informing me more about this subject.


    • Thanks for your comment! I hope BirdLife in Bulgaria will become stronger, to prevent more of such cases where, unfortunately like in other countries, profit interests of a few prevail over nature.


      • Unfortunately, the few profiting from the resources of the many (including lands already public and protected, such as national parks) seems the prevalent situation. The situation in Oregon, USA, is borne of the assumption that individuals have the right to exploit public lands.


        • You are right. If these armed wildlife refuge occupiers in Oregon would have been Paiute Native American (traditional owners of that region) instead of white and rich, then authorities would have shot them dead long ago.


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