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Meeting to present the results of the monitoring of large carnivores in Osogovo

Meeting to present the results of the monitoring of  large carnivores in Osogovo
Feb. 26, 2018
A meeting to present the results of the Monitoring of large carnivores in Osogovo was held on 20 and 21 February, 2018. The monitoring of large carnivores and their food base is an important part of the implementation of the “Supporting Sustainable Future for People and Nature in Osogovo” project, which provided an opportunity for permanent monitoring of the project target species: lynx, bear and wolf in the period from September 2016 to February, 2018. More than 30 participants, representatives of various institutions and organizations from Bulgaria and Macedonia gathered in hotel “Tri Buki” and got acquainted with the results of the analysis of the information gathered during the monitoring.

Several of the participants were also members of the monitoring network established within the project that provided possibility for the local community representatives to support the implementation of the monitoring activities in the mountain.
The meeting was opened with introductory words by Tanya Georgieva - Shnel (Bulgarian Biodiversity Foundation) and Despina Kitanova (Macedonian Ecological Society) - project coordinators from the two partner organizations. The results of the monitoring were presented by Assoc. Prof. Diana Zlatanova –the project’s Chief expert on large carnivores, Ch. Assistant Professor Elitsa Popova as well as by Alexander Stoyanov - Expert Large Predators for MED.
Despite the large amount of photos and videos made by the photo traps, installed in the mountain, the gathered information continues to provide no further evidence of the current presence of the lynx in the mountain - prestented Assoc. Prof. Diana Zlatanova. This species  that is of particular interest for our country and that was observed continuously in Osogovo from 2008 until the end of 2015, was not captured by the camera cameras during the last monitoring period.

Thus, it is still unclear what is the current situation of the three individuals photographed in previous years monitoring phase. Nevertheless, the photographic materials show the presence of at least 2 packs of wolves, which are registered in the territories of both Bulgaria and Macedonia. The photo traps have also registered the presence of a bear in the Bulgarian, southern part of the mountain.

The confirmed presence of the big predators in the mountain once again confirms the position of BBF that Osogovo has an exceptional, preserved nature as well as demonstrates the good and sustainable management of the natural resources in the mountain by all the stakeholders and the need for constant efforts to improve their capacity in that direction.

The monitoring network participants expressed positive opinion on the opportunities provided by the project to carry out joint monitoring simultaneously in both countries and to collect and insert the information into a single database. The opportunities for cooperation and exchange of experience and knowledge between the two countries were also highly appreciated. During the meeting, opportunities for the continuation of activities on the joint implementation of large predators monitoring activities in both parts of Osogovo were also discussed.
Participants in the meeting discussed the positive results of the monitoring and identified new directions for work to improve the monitoring network in Osogovo. The participants also commented on the need for further efforts to improve the involvement of local institutions in the monitoring network and expressed active interest and willingness to participate in the process of ensuring the continuity of monitoring activities in Osogovo.