Third International Scientific and Practical Conference “Eagles of the Palearctic: Study and Conservation”

Raptors Conservation. Suppl. 2. Proceedings of Conferences

Antipoisoning activities in Bulgaria to enforce raptors conservation in the country

Dobrev D.D., Terziev V.G., Dobrev V.D. (Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds / BirdLife Bulgaria, Plovdiv, Bulgaria)
Arkumarev V.S. (Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds / BirdLife Bulgaria, Haskovo, Bulgaria)
Stamenov A. (Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds / BirdLife Bulgaria, Sofia, Bulgaria)

Dobromir Dobrev
Nikolai Terziev
Volen Arkumarev
Anton Stamenov
Vladimir Dobrev
Recommended citation: Dobrev D.D., Terziev V.G., Arkumarev V.S., Stamenov A., Dobrev V.D. Antipoisoning activities in Bulgaria to enforce raptors conservation in the country. – Raptors Conservation. 2023. S2: 178–180. DOI: 10.19074/1814-8654-2023-2-178-180 URL:

The first antipoisoning dog unit in Bulgaria was founded in 2016. The dog unit operated more than 4 years (October 2016 – December 2020) in the frame of the Conservation of Black and Griffon Vultures in the cross border Rhodope Mountains (LIFE 14 NAT/NL/901) project. During that time, 153 searches and patrols were conducted. The majority of the patrols were executed in the Eastern Rhodopes (80%), which is the core area of the vulture populations in Bulgaria. The total number of all findings is 310, with 40 of them being illegally poisoned animals, 7 were animal remains, and 10 were poisoned baits. The average number of victims found per poisoning incident is 2.86±3.5. The anti-poisoning dog unit found 11 poisoned animal species. Vultures comprised 17.5% (n=7) of all victims found. In all these cases vultures were unintentional victims as the main cause of poison use were human-predator and human-human conflicts. Wolves and domestic dogs were the most common victims comprising 22.5% and 20% respectively of all poisoned animals found. Carbofuran and Methomyl were identified as the main poison substances used in the investigated cases.

Along with the dog unit operation, a development of a National action plan to combat the illegal use of poisons in the wild (hereafter NAP) was initiated with national authorities and NGOs (Ministry of Environment and Waters, Bulgarian Food Safety Agency, Executive Forestry Agency, National Police, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, other NGOs). In 2021, after intensive communication with the Ministry of Environment and waters, the plan was finally endorsed by the Minister.

Local Network of Stakeholders against Wildlife Poisoning in Bulgaria was created in the last two years (2021–2022) in Bulgaria. It includes 55 livestock breeders, farmers, hunters, veterinarians, and mayors of villages.

Dog patrols are now used in Greece and Bulgaria to detect and remove poison baits from the landscape. Photo by V. Saravia.

Poisoned birds and poisoned baits found when patrolling with a dog. Photo by G. Deák.

Poisoned Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) in Greece. Photo by L. Sidiropoulos.

Poisoned Egyptian Vulture (Neophron percnopterus) in the Republic of North Macedonia. Photo by M. Velevski.