A Griffon Vulture was hit on the highway, but mobilized many people for its rescue.

A Griffon Vulture was hit on the highway, but mobilized many people for its rescue.


In February 16, 2024, one of the Griffon Vultures - part of the reintroduction program, was hit on the Trakia highway. Dozens of citizens reported the injured bird, and a team from Green Balkans promptly responded to the scene. Assistance was also provided by officers from the Road Police Sector - Stara Zagora, Regional Directorate of the Ministry of Interior, who stood at the scene for several hours to prevent the injured bird from being hit by other cars and to avoid creating conditions for a traffic accident.

After we urgently responded to the call, the bird was admitted to the Wildlife Rescue Center, where it was immediately given medical treatment and care. Despite the end of the working day, the team was called urgently to give first aid to the precious bird, but it died during the initial manipulations. Regardless, our team didn’t managed to help the animal, and this case is one of the examples of how dozens of people got involved - from the Romanian volunteer, to the Bulgarian citizens who reported the incident, and our colleagues from the Fund for Wild Flora and Fauna observing the birds with transmitters, through the Green Balkans team responding to the scene, to the veterinarians at the Wildlife Rescue Center.

Initial information about the bird came from Cornel Kotorogea, a volunteer from Romania, who is one of our most active supporters in the efforts to reintroduce vultures in our country. This became possible because the bird was equipped with a transmitter, allowing its tracking in the wild. Teams from the Fund for Wild Flora and Fauna and Green Balkans regularly track birds with transmitters, and this 'spy' system allows for early detection of distressed birds, as well as poisoned vultures.



The bird was donated by the French zoo BIOPARC Zoo de Doue, France. It was named AD, according to its marking number. It was housed in an adaptation aviary, at facility of the Fund for Wild Flora and Fauna, in the village of Rakitna. It was released in Kresna in August 2023, marked and released by Hristo Peshev from the same organization. Afterward, the bird wandered, passing through the Western Rhodopes to the Central Balkan. There, it exhibited behavior atypical for wild birds, clinging to populated areas like Karlovo - Kalofar and the surrounding region, even landing on monuments in the cities.

This behavior may be attributed to the fact that it was raised in a zoo and underwent 'imprinting' - a process where birds raised by humans consider themselves as humans and seek their proximity.

In the past few days, it had been heading through Sredna Gora toward the plain, where it apparently landed on the Trakia highway near Kaloyanovets and was hit.

The bird was equipped with a transmitter donated by the Paris Zoo. Thanks to it, it was tracked by our team, as well as by volunteer Cornel Kotorogea, which allowed for its detection. Thus, a single bird from our program mobilized the efforts of people, institutions, and zoos in France, Bulgaria, and Romania to return the vultures to our country!

We express our sincere gratitude to the officers of the Road Police Sector, Stara Zagora Regional Directorate of the Ministry of Interior –Junior Road Control Officer Dimitar Dimitrov and Senior Police Officer Nikolay Apostolov, who guarded the bird on-site. We thank Cornel Cotorogea - who is an exceptionally active volunteer of ours, as well as the citizens who reported the incident. Last but not least, we thank the French zoos that donated the bird and its transmitter, allocating funds from visitor revenues to support the program for the return of vultures to Bulgaria. Thanks to our joint efforts, we managed to return the Griffon vultures to Kresna and the Balkan Mountains, as well as the Black Vulture, which had disappeared from the country!

You too can become part of the program to return vultures and help us bring back the symbol of Bulgarian nature conservation - the Bearded Vulture.

Simeon Marin – conservation officer; mobile phone: +359889223173; e-mail: