“This type of food chain is unique”
Team leader of Rhodope Mountains
How would you characterise your rewilding area?
Rhodope Mountain is the oldest land mass in the Balkan Peninsula. Eastern Rhodope is probably the most biodiversity rich part of the whole European continent. It represents a mosaic of diverse landscape including grass meadows, pastures, wooden land, formed by the grazing animals, not only domestic animals but also free roaming bisons and horses fallow and red deer. Alltogether they maintain a half open landscape while offering food for large carnivores and scavengers and ensuring sustainable food chain functioning. In addition to the natural richness there is unique mixture of ethnicities, traditions and religions in the region. Local people live in harmony with each other and with nature which is yet another really inspiring and fascinating feature.
What have the major achievements been in your rewilding area to date?
Rhodope Mountains landscape witnessed an impressive rewilding transformation over the last several years as the number of the free roaming wild herbivores increased significantly as a result of our rewilding efforts. Fallow and Red deer populations are increasing sustainably, European bisons in the area are now more than fifteen, the number of Karakachan and Konik horses free roaming in the area is over 170 animals maintaining the natural meadows, supporting germination of herbs and trees as well as increasing the availability of food for scavengers. This, in turn positively impact the number of visitors and thereby boost the area’s nature-based economy.