site.btaBulgarian Society for Protection of Birds Urges Support for Endangered Souslik Colonies

Bulgarian Society for Protection of Birds Urges Support for Endangered Souslik Colonies
Bulgarian Society for Protection of Birds Urges Support for Endangered Souslik Colonies
Archive Photo by National Museum of Natural History

The Bulgarian Society for Protection of Birds (BSPB) Tuesday called for urgent measures to protect the colonies of sousliks in Bulgaria. "If sousliks disappear, the entire ecosystem is doomed," Associate Professor Yordan Koshev of the Institute of Biodiversity with the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, told BTA. He participated in new field studies of this species in pastures in the Sofia suburb of Kremikovtsi. The study was organized by the Society for Protection of Birds and the Life for Falkans project.

The souslik is endangered worldwide. In Bulgaria, its population is steadily decreasing, said Dimitar Gradinarov of BSPB. They are at the base of the food chain as they are food for mammals and birds. Having sousliks is crucial for the existence of falcons and eagles. Souslik homes are used by other animals. The little songbird wheatear, for example, makes its nest in sousliks' burrows.

The souslik hibernates during the winter but if does not eat well and fails to put on fat in autumn, it can't survive the cold months. The species does not pile up food for the winter and only relies on the body fat to survive.

Bulgaria's biggest colony of sousliks is believed to be located near the Belmeken reservoir in the Rila mountains.

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 project is coordinated by BSPB and is underway in partnership with the Green Balkans, the Institute of Biodoversity with the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, the Romanian Ornithologic Society, the Habitat Foundation of the Netherlands, and the Eberhard Karl University of Tübingen. 

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By 04:28 on 20.07.2024 Today`s news

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