|Town/Region||Banya Village, District Bourgas, Nesebar Municipality|
|Date||8 May 2008|
The overall aim of this project is to prevent the drastic population decline of both tortoise species in the Bulgarian Black Sea Coastal area, caused from habitats deterioration due to the expanding resort construction and tourist pressure and to propose new protected area based on tortoises long-term conservation measures. The project will designate the most threatened tortoises’ habitats in the region, and will attempt to prevent further disturbance and eradication of species through their relocation in preserved natural habitats in protected areas, raise public awareness in tortoises’ conservation and increase the chances of maintaining stable populations in the new habitats.
In the recent decades tortoises’ abundance in Bulgaria have suffer ubiquitous reduction due to a number of factors, mostly anthropogenic, like habitat distraction and alteration, illegal trade for human consumption, pet-trade, trade for medical purposes, etc. The Bulgarian Black Sea Biogeographic Region along with its habitats is particularly threatened - the irreversible damages to biodiversity are already caused by construction of new enormous resort complexes and infrastructure. Only urgent measures for saving the remained habitats and survived tortoises could prevent their total extinction in the Costal region.
The project will contribute for tortoises’ survival in the Bulgarian Black Sea region, prevent their direct obliteration by removing them from the most threatened sites. This is absolutely exigent to rescue the last remained specimens from an offensive concrete all over the region, to prevent further disturbance and increase the chances of maintaining healthy populations of both species in preserved natural habitats in protected areas. The project will support the implementation of the National Action Plan for Protection of Land Tortoises. The project envisages promotional campaign that will guarantee the acquaintance of the local people with the harm of the illegal trade, human consumption, and collection of living specimens for pets and souvenirs. This campaign will contribute to the local public actions for bringing wounded on the road and building sites specimens in the Gea Chelonia Foundation “ex-situ” Centre. The project will ensure know how and experience exchange on similar problems with other regions.
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