On March 2018 Latvian Fund for Nature organized a study tour to Bulgaria for project staff, representatives of project partners, stakeholders and media representatives. The goal of experience exchange trip was to visit a country with a strong Lesser spotted eagle (LSE) population and where effective conservation measures have been carried out. Bulgaria is also an important migration site for Lesser spotted eagles.
The study tour from Bulgaria side was hosted by Bulgarian Society for Protection of Birds (BSPB) that also is implementing organization of the project “LIFE for Eagle Forests”.
On 20th of March the Latvian delegation visited the Executive Forest Agency (EFA) of Bulgaria. The first meeting was with the director of EFA Rosen Popsavov. The second meeting was with staff of EFA and BSPB. As EFA is also the organization that is implementing the project “LIFE for Eagle Forests” their representatives gave a presentation about the project and about the Bulgarian forest management. After that representatives of Latvian delegation gave a presentation about project “Conservation arrangements for Lesser Spotted Eagle in Latvia” and situation in Latvian forests. The presentations were followed by a discussion and sharing of experience related to conservation of Lesser spotted eagle and forests.
After the meetings Latvian delegation left Sofia for the next stop of the travel – Elhovo.
On 21 of March the Latvian delegation together with representatives of BSPB visited Special protected area (SPA) Sakar for observation of typical LSE nesting and feeding habitats. The visit also included demonstration of Antipoison Dog Unit of BSPB and it’s manager Nikolay Terziev. The dog unit is used for detecting poisoned game that is one of the causes of death for eagles in the region. The delegation also met Stoycho Stoychev – BSPB Conservation Director.
On 22 of March the Latvian delegation together with representatives of BSPB visited another two SPA – Zapadna Strandzha and Dereventski Heights for observation of typical LSE nesting and feeding habitats. Alternative nests of one pair were visited in one breeding territory. Local LSE experts gave insight into monitoring peculiarities of species in Bulgaria.
At the end of the day the delegation travelled to the next destination – Tzarevo.
On 23 of March a field trip to SPA Strandzha took place. The trip included a visit to honeydew honey production site in LSE nesting habitats where we received valuable insights how people could benefit from LSE protection and get alternative income from forests that are important for breeding eagles. Honey processing workroom was visited in local village where representatives of the project “LIFE for Eagle Forests” presented the project idea, background and technical aspects of implementation. One local LSE nest was visited as well on the outskirts of the village. After that the delegation visited Poda Nature Information Centre (run by the BSPB) where exchanged experience about similar activities in Bulgaria and Latvia. Poda is situated on the important migration route of LSE