Monitoring of carnivores in the Osogovo Mountains in Bulgaria

Lynx by camera trap
Lynx by camera trap
Photo: BBF

The Osogovo Mountains have an outstanding importance for biodiversity. Still pristine forests give habitat to several rare plant species as well as various birds and large carnivores like wolves, bears, wildcats and lynx. Unfortunately the forests are threatened by deforestation and growing pine plantations.

A Hotspot of Biodiversity

In the heart of the Balkan Green Belt Osogovo Mountain is located at the border between Macedonia and Bulgaria, in the heart of the Balkan Green Belt. The outstanding importance of the biodiversity of Osogovo is represented by several endemic, relict and rare plant species. Also various animal species of birds of prey and large carnivores can be found. Osogovo Mountain has been declared as Important Bird Area (IBA) and the Bulgarian part of Osogovo is included in the European Natura 2000 network.

Forests cover about 60 % of Osogovo Mountain. Deciduous forests are the dominant forest types. The abundant and mostly unfragemented oak and beech forests give the typical outlook of the mountain. In the past years some of the areas that were once covered by natural forest, now are replaced by pine plantations. As examples in other parts of the Balkan have shown, lack of awareness and missing protecting efforts easily lead to a sell out of the forest and deforestation. The replacement of natural forests by pine plantations are the first signs for this development. EURid, Naturefund and EuroNatur together aim to raise public awareness for this hotspot of biodiversity, showing the importance to preserve the outstanding plant and animal wildlife here.


Improve knowledge about large carnivores in Osogovo

Goal of the project is the conservation of the outstanding biological diversity in joint efforts with the local population. In the monitoring network various stakeholders will be actively involved. 

So far there is not much information about large carnivores occurrence available. When it comes to management decisions, e.g. designation of protected areas or sustainable forest management, this knowledge is missing. The monitoring results will therefore expand the available information on animal species diversity in Osogovo and thus raise the public and scientific interest towards the mountain.


More cameras to follow wolves, bears & Co.

Currently there are only 9 cameras for the Bulgarian part and 11 cameras for the Macedonian part and it is not possible to cover all identified important large carnivores areas with the appropriate camera coverage at once. Through the support of EURid and Naturefund e. V. the project team is able to buy at least 13 additional cameras, to be used in the Osogovo mountains. This would improve the monitoring immensely, due to better camera-trap coverage in all identified important large carnivores areas. A camera costs approxamately 300 €, including installation and monitoring for one year. Please help us protect this pristine forest. With your help we can watch bear, wolves and lynx roam about the mountains!


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