Schildkröten im Fokus
, Bergheim 8 (2) 2011: 3–21
Schildkrötenschutz am Südostrand Europas: Ein Besuch zur Eröffnung der GEA Chelonia Foundation, Bulgarien.
Tortoise preservation at the south-eastern corner of Europe: A visit at the opening ceremony of the GEA Chelonia Foundation, Bulgaria.
Here I report on the opening ceremony of the first Centre for Tortoise Conservation of the GEA Chelonia Foundation in the village of Banya,
Bulgaria. In addition, background information is provided about the setting and the ongoing habitat destruction impacting fauna and flora
along the Black Sea coastal regions, and about relocation projects for herpetofauna chiefly carried out by Bulgarian herpetologists. This
description is followed by highlighting ongoing illegal construction work at sites belonging to nature reserves protected by the European
Community, and a somewhat critical view of the practice of a large organisation devoted to chelonian conservation. Whilst their main focus
for determining priority listings for conservation is at the species level, in nearly all cases all conservation efforts boil down to
habitat protection – which should take place when there is at least something left still worth the effort. The explanatory description
of the Centre's goals precedes a detailed presentation of the ongoing research activities, its main current focus being to compare the
integrative behaviour of relocated tortoises (Testudo hermanni boettgeri
, T. graeca ibera
) with that of the ancestral
(that is, native) tortoise population within the relocation areas. Last but not least I discuss the potential of still extant, largely
intact habitats, and the efforts and problems which have arisen due to man-made changes to the landscape and to the fauna, including the
renewed presence of carnivorous macrofauna such as bear and wolf and their consequences for the conservation of the herpetofauna. Finally I
hope that everybody will understand that a synecological perspective is mandatory for successful conservation efforts and management in the
Herpetofauna, conservation biology, reptiles, tortoises, turtles, Testudo hermanni
, Testudo graeca
, Emys orbicularis
GEA Chelonia Foundation, Bulgaria, European Community.
Videos: sLink 110201v
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