Good Dalmatian pelican news from Bulgaria


This video is about Dalmatian pelicans in Greece.

By Emilia Yankova in Bulgaria, 20 May 2016:

New colony of Dalmatian Pelicans established in Bulgaria

A new colony of the globally threatened Dalmatian Pelican, 60 years in the making, has finally been formed in Bulgaria. Ten pairs now nest on one of two artificial wooden platforms built for them in the Peschina Marsh, located in the Persina Nature Park.

The Peschina Marsh is the largest on the Bulgarian part of the Danube River and was once a bird haven. In the past, the wetland dried up due to lack of sufficient water from the Danube. In 2008, restoration work on the marsh began with the financing of the Global Environmental Facility (GEF), as part of a World Bank-managed Wetlands Restoration and Pollution Reduction project. The project was the first of its kind under the umbrella of the GEF Black Sea/Danube Strategic Partnership – Nutrient Reduction Investment Fund which aims to control or mitigate nutrient inflow into the Black Sea.

Thus the marsh, situated on the largest of the Danube islands and part of the Ramsar site Belene Islands Complex, is once again rebuilding its position as a paradise for birds: since the restoration, about 250 Dalmatian Pelicans have used it for roosting and feeding. The Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds (BSPB, BirdLife in Bulgaria) and the park’s directorate are monitoring the ecological effects of the wetland restoration project on biodiversity.

Dalmatian Pelicans have been threatened globally by a variety of manmade causes, including wetland drainage, illegal killing, human disturbance, water pollution and over exploitation of fish stocks, among other things. Until the Peschina Marsh site was developed, the only breeding habitat for this species, native to Bulgaria, was in the in Srebarna Lake near the town of Silistra.

In 2011 and 2012, as part of a conservation project, BSPB and the directorate of the park, with the help of WWF Bulgaria, Whitley Fund for Nature, and many volunteers, built three artificial wooden platforms in the marsh to stimulate the breeding of the Dalmatian Pelicans. These wooden structures were covered with reed bundles to make them attractive as nests to the pelicans at the beginning of the breeding season.

Four years after the platforms were constructed, the area is already occupied by a group of 30 Dalmatian Pelicans, including young birds. Public access to the island is still very limited, which helps to ensure minimal human disturbance, a vital factor for the pelicans to breed.

“We are very happy to see the Dalmatian Pelicans returning to breed in the Belene marshes. After more than 60 years finally we have a second pelican colony established in Bulgaria!” Svilen Cheshmedzhiev, coordinator of BSPB in the region, says. “It’s a great nature conservation success, and an example of good cooperation between institutions and non-governmental organizations.”

Bulgarian xenophobic paramilitarists handcuff Afghan war refugees


This 11 April 2016 video shows a Bulgarian paramilitary gang tying refugees from the Afghan war.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands today:

In Bulgaria images have turned up of vigilantes tying migrants. The amateur footage shows three migrants. They are located in a forest on the ground with their hands tied at the back. They are told that they must immediately return to Turkey. “No Bulgaria for you”, says one of the vigilantes.

According to Bulgarian media, the images are from the Strandja region, near the Turkish border. The video was posted Sunday on Facebook by one of the vigilantes, who calls himself Joseph Louis Barrow. Barrow was a famous American boxer.

Illegal action

Border police chief calls the vigilante action illegal. “In Bulgaria, only the authorities may arrest someone,” he says. According to the border police, the migrants come from Afghanistan.

“Apparently our government and the compliant media have forgotten their Bulgarian origin,” Barrow wrote this morning. “Long live Bulgaria … Death, death and death alone to the traitors.”

The BBC reports that more vigilantes are active near the Turkish-Bulgarian border. Last week a volunteer border patrol was given an award by the border police for holding 23 migrants.

AT the Idomeni crossing from Greece into Macedonia refugees are clashing with Macedonian soldiers and police, as they try to reopen the border near their makeshift camp in the northern Greek border village of Idomeni, so as to proceed into Europe. 300 people have been injured by Macedonian police firing teargas, stun grenades and rubber bullets at them, said ‘Doctors without Borders’. The teargas from the clashes has spread to the nearby camp where children are suffering from respiratory problems, and where two people have already set themselves alight in protest at their treatment: here.

By Peter Schwarz in Germany today:

Not long ago, a bitter conflict raged in Europe between advocates of sealing off Europe’s borders and supporters of a “European solution” to the refugee crisis.

The German chancellor, who insisted most explicitly on a “European solution,” was praised to the skies by liberal journalists and politicians as the “refugees’ chancellor,” who had finally discovered her heart for the vulnerable and persecuted. The Greens and sections of the Left Party joined in. There were even suggestions that Merkel be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Merkel’s opponents accused her of national betrayal and violation of the Constitution.

Now, everyone can see what a “European solution” means: sealing off Europe’s borders. War refugees, who have risked the life-threatening journey across the Aegean Sea, are detained, mistreated and sent back to Turkey, where they are interned once again by the Turkish government and then returned to their country of origin.

The concentration camps on Greek islands surrounded by barbed-wire fences, the batons and tear gas canisters with which Macedonian border police assault defenceless refugees, and the bureaucratic ruthlessness with which desperate people are bullied and expelled throughout Europe recall the grimmest chapter in German history.

Isabelline wheatears’ nest in Bulgaria, video


This video by Frank Schulkes from the Netherlands says about itself:

Isabelline Wheatear, Oenanthe isabellina

14 January 2016

Isabelline Wheatears are among the world’s real long-distance migrants. They are on the Red List of Threatened Species. … This inspired me to follow a couple in Bulgaria during the breeding season. During 2 months I have made 5000 photos, documenting their family life and from which I selected 50 images to edit this clip. Enjoy!!!

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.”

Refugees ill-treated in Bulgaria


This video from Britain says about itself:

UK: Hundreds of pro-refugee protesters march on Downing Street

12 November 2015

Over 500 pro-refugee protesters marched on London’s Downing Street, Thursday, to decry British Prime Minister David Cameron’s policy on migrants and asylum seekers.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Oxfam: Bulgaria mistreats refugees

Today, 11:51

Refugees traveling through Bulgaria are regularly mistreated by the authorities in that country. This says a report by human rights organization Oxfam. They are said to be beaten, shot at and robbed.

The report was written after interviews with 110 migrants, mostly from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. These are refugees who try to reach Western Europe by land. They came into Bulgaria via Turkey.

A number of migrants had to deal with physical violence by the Bulgarian police and attacks by police dogs. Others said they were extorted.

Stefano Baldini, Oxfam’s director for South East Europe, believes that the European Union should intervene to ensure that human rights are safeguarded. “The testimonies are representative of the situation in Bulgaria.”

Gun

In the British newspaper The Telegraph an Afghan immigrant says that he has been imprisoned without reason and had to bribe the police for 400 euros to be released again. Another man was mistreated because he had no papers on him. A policeman hit him with a gun in his face.

An Afghan man who wanted to cross the border between Bulgaria and Serbia told The Associated Press that one policeman hit him with tree branches. In another incident, a Bulgarian \policeman is said to have put a gun to the head of a refugee and to have robbed him of his money, cell phone and other valuables.

Two refugees said they had to pay 2,500 euros to be smuggled into Bulgaria, but on arrival there they were transferred to the police. To avoid being arrested, they had to bribe the officers for 200 euros. When their group later fled into the woods, the police opened fire on them. Two persons were injured.

Last month, Bulgarian police shot dead an Afghan man who had entered the country via Turkey.

Afghan war refugee killed at Bulgarian border


This video says about itself:

MSF raises death toll from US airstrikes on Kunduz hospital to 24

14 October 2015

Doctors without Borders, MSF has raised to 24 the death toll from the US airstrike on a hospital in Afghanistan’s Kunduz province.

The organization says the death toll was raised as two of its missing staff members are now presumed dead. 22 of MSF staffers who were initially unaccounted for are alive. Doctors without borders is still trying to contact nine patients who went missing following the strikes on October 3. MSF International President Joanne Liu says they are still in the dark about why a medical facility packed with patients was targeted for more than an hour.

Unfortunately, Turkey is not the only country where armed forces kill refugees. In Turkey, it was refugees from the Syrian war. Now, in Bulgaria, a refugee, probably from the Afghan war.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Bulgarian border guards shoot a refugee dead

Today, 07:54

Bulgarian border guards have shot a refugee dead. Presumably it was an Afghan. The man tried along with dozens of other refugees to illegally cross the Turkish-Bulgarian border and the group resisted arrest, says the Bulgarian Ministry of the Interior.

The group tried near Sredets town to enter the country, where border guards are said to have fired warning shots. One of the bullets hit the man, who died on his way to hospital. …

There is no other source confirming the version of the Bulgarian government.

From daily The Independent in Britain:

The UN’s refugee agency (UNHCR) condemned the use of force and appealed to Bulgaria not to treat refugees like criminals.

“We, at UNHCR, are deeply shocked by this incident,” said spokesperson Boris Cheshirkov.

“We deplore the death of an Afghan asylum seeker, trying to reach safety across the border. We call on the Bulgarian authorities to conduct an immediate, transparent and independent investigation. Seeking asylum is an universal human right and not a crime.”

The Black Sea state, which is a member of the EU but not of the border-free Schengen Area, has deployed more border police, installed cameras and motion sensors, and is extending a security fence to cover 100 miles of its border with Turkey.

At least 11,000 asylum seekers have entered Bulgaria since January and the number is expected to reach 15,000 by the end of the year. Most are fleeing Syria and use Bulgaria as a transit route to wealthier countries such as Germany and Sweden.

In recent days, a total of eight refugees have been killed in two separate incidents by border guards at the European Union’s external border with Turkey: here.

‘WHAT I LEARNED WHEN FOUR REFUGEES MOVED IN’ “I asked Marija what she wanted most for herself and her family. She gently grabbed my hand and looked into my eyes: ‘Sophia, all I want is a small room for my family. A table for us to eat together. And a bed for us to share. I didn’t come to Germany to be a millionaire. I came here because I wanted to be allowed to be a human being. To be happy.'”[HuffPost]