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Reintroduction of Red Deer in the Eastern Rhodopes

In January 2012 the Bulgarian-Dutch project New Thracian Gold initiates a next step in the process of rewilding the Eastern Rhodopes nature. After the Tarpan (September 2011) the Red Deer is the second large herbivore to be reintroduced.

The New Thracian Gold team and the National Hunting and Fishing Association - Union of Hunters and Anglers in Bulgaria start a cooperation in the nature area "Studen Kladenetz".  Late January 15 red deer will arrive  in this wilderness area. After a 40-days quarantaine the animals initially stay in a  20 ha enclosure . In June the adaptation period ends and the Red Deer will be released to the wild. The animals will be equipped with GPS - GSM transmitters when released, for monitoring their wellbeing and whereabouts. For their protection extra security is guaranteed by the reserve management.

The project goal is to establish a viable Red Deer population of at least 50 free-living animals within ten years time in this part of the Eastern Rhodopes

The Red Deer is one of the characteristic wild animals to be found on paintings in ancient Thracian tombs.  Unfortunately in recent times it got almost exterminated in our region as a result of  poaching. Only a few dozen Deer managed to escape extermination  in border areas of Eastern and Western Rhodope Mountains and in the state hunting reserve Zhenda.

 The Red Deer reintroduction area "Studen Kladenetz" covers 5600 ha situated on the southern bank of the lake "Studen Kladenetz" near Boynik mountain. The hunting reserve hosts a population of over 1,000 fallow deer, which inhabit the area freely. The region is famous for its very rich biodiversity. It is inhabited by a stable population of wolves. Many eagles and vultures live here. It is the last stronghold of Black vultures in Bulgaria. The region is visited by thousands of foreign eco-tourist, who are attracted by the various  observation and photo opportunities and who especially like to see many  endangered species, like the Black, Griffon and Egyptian vultures.

Hunting reserve "Studen Kladenetz" and the project New Thracian Gold also work on a joint development program for the eco-tourism in the region. Stimulating eco-tourism is another key component of the cooperative project.

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