The process against Stefan Gavrilov for the two confiscated Bonelli’s Eagles in 2010 has been launched. Let’s hope this time truth triumphs!

The process against Stefan Gavrilov for the two confiscated Bonelli’s Eagles in 2010 has been launched. Let’s hope this time truth triumphs!

Brief history:

On March 27th 2010 border officers from the Vidin Ferry border point prevented the illegal export of two extremely rare for Bulgaria Bonelli’s Eagles (Hieraeetus fasciatus) with forged accompanying documents. The species is enlisted in the Bulgarian Biodiversity Act, Annex 2 of the International CITES Convention and Annex A of Regulation EC 338/97, regulating the application of the CITES Convention within EU. An interesting fact is that the person who attempted to export the birds claimed to be an employee of Green Balkans.

Two years later the process was finally launched. The defendant was accused under Article 278 of the Criminal Code. Unfortunately, despite the obvious evidence, the Prosecutor’s Office did not bring accusations under Article 242 of the Criminal Code for forging the documents. The Prosecutor’s Office launched the process and the new session was set for April 20th 2012 by default of the witness who had carried out the expertise, who was currently abroad.

As we already alarmed several times, this smuggling attempt is an emblematic case of extreme importance for Bulgaria. Traffic on wild animals is third after smuggling drugs and arms on a global scale. In 2011 the Wildlife Rescue Centre has accommodated several birds, which have been accidentally or deliberately released in Sofia – Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) in the area of the NCC, a Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus brookei), an Eleonora’s Falcon (Falco eleonorae) and a Gosshawk (Accipiter gentilis), found in a waste container together with two already dead birds of the same species, close to the home of the person, held in relation to the Bonelli’s Eagles case. In yet another occasion, a Saker Falcon (Falco cherrug) was spotted on several sites in the capital but was never caught. All birds found were tagged with forged rings, similar to those of the Bonelli’s Eagles, caught with forged documents in March 2010 and were found in the area where the defendant lives. Later, in July 2011, according to information of the MoI, the 50-year-old man was detained after a house search which found out an illegally kept Peregrine Falcon in fluff plumage for a subspecies which is not found in our country (Falco peregrinus calidus) as well as a number of other clear evidence that this man has been carrying out such illegal activities for years. The house search carried out on July 27th 2011 also resulted in finding forged certificates for export, as well as a stamp of MoEW and the Austrian Ministry of agriculture, forestry and environment, which, according to us, are directly related to the forged accompanying documents of the two Bonelli’s Eagles (Hieraeetus fasciatus) confiscated at Vidin.

Therefore we are calling at all interested organizations and media to come at the public session of the District Court of Vidin on April 4th 2012 at 10,00 am. Let’s show that there is active civil society in the country, which is seriously involved and will not tolerate crimes against wildlife!

We are hoping on an effective conviction and that this process will show the world that crimes against wildlife in Bulgaria are persecuted with the entire force of law.


For more information, please contact:
Ivailo Klisurov – Manager of the Wildlife Rescue Centre – Green Balkans
Phone: +359 886570052, e-mail: