National park Tsentralen Balkan: Fauna

The faunistic diversity on the territory of the park is great. 2 387 invertebrate species and subspecies, comprising 261 rare species, 168 endemics, 108 relicts, 36 species included in world and European lists of endangered species and 10 species protected in Bulgaria are established to date. Calosoma sycophanta, Procerus scabrosus, Parnassius apollo, Erebia bulgarica, Erebia rhodopensis, Coenonympha rhodopensis, Apatura iris, Argynnis lathonia etc. are among the insects of conservation value. 6 fish species, 8 amphibian species, 14 reptile species and 123 bird species found within the mating period have been established over the past 30 years.

Because of the reduced species` number the park Directorate implements planting with Balkan trout aiming at helping its populations.

The diversity of habitats and their favourable ecological status, as well as the geographical position of the park determine Central Balkan as one of the most significant protected areas in Bulgaria for the conservation of the national populations of many nasting species. The vital populations of 3 of the 4 biomically restricted species established in Bulgaria and characteristic of the alpine zone – Prunella collaris, Tichofroma muraria and Pyrrhocorax graculus propagate in the park . The Central Balkan NP is one of the areas of richest diversity of predatory birds in Bulgaria. Unfortunately, at present only written data on some of the 18 species found in the past have remained. The two largest European birds of prey – ossifrage and the Black vulture became extinct more than 40 years ago as a result of the increased poaching, using of poisonous baits for wolves and foxes and the decline of nomadic sheep breeding. The bald eagle and Egyptian vulture do not nest in the park any more but their appearance during the summer season holds out hopes that they will come back again to this area in the near future. The park is home to the largest population of imperial eagle in Europe. Only two braces of Imperial eagles, which are endangered on a global scale, nest in the park and their population in the country is less than 30 braces. The pern, two species of buzzards, two species of hawks and four species of falcons nest in the park.

Mammals form three main groups – bats, small mammals and large mammals.

18 of a total of 29 bat species in Bulgaria are established to date within the park. There is a great probability of finding some more species in view of the fact that under CORINE Biotopes project a total of 23 bat species were found within the park and its adjoining territories. 8 of the species are globally endangered and all the 18 species established are included in the Appendices of the European Union Directive on habitats.

Mapping of the ground squirrel stocks and outlining measures for the protection of their habitats from the juniper offensive started in 2001. This is a goal of utmost significance for the protection of species of greatest conservation value – Golden eagle, Imperial eagle, saker falcon because of their direct connection with the ground squirrel as a trophic base. The ground squirrel is defined as a vulnerable species and is included in the World Red Data book. The habitats of another globally vulnerable species – the molerat, will be mapped along with the habitats of the ground squirrel.

The large mammals in the park are represented by 16 species. The field investigations over the past years show that the number of the red deer is in decline. The chamois is one of the country`s most interesting and at the same time too endangered species. The Central Balkan population of the species is situated entirely within the park. The poaching that spread over the past years lead to a reduction in number. That is why the park Directorate assigned an Action plan development for the chamois protection and recovery. An evaluation of the present species` status – number, sex structure, vitality, migrations is to be made. The factors infliencing its status are to be analyzed as well as measures for the species` stabilization and protection are to be taken.

A considerable part of the Bulgarian bear population – about 60 animals range over the park. The lynx together with the bear and wolf is one of the three European large mammals, which impress and win veneration. The lynx has been found in all old mountain and plain forests in our country. However, its number started to decrease gradually in the beginning of the century. Forests` clearing and the chase of the lynx for the sake of its precious fir as well as the allegations that it causes damages to domestic animals are the main reasons. It still could be seen in Central Stara Planina and Rila Mountains until the 30s. German soldiers killed a lynx in 1941 in Rila. This date in the Red Data book registers the extinction of the lynx in Bulgaria. Investigations on the opportunities of its reaclimatization were carried out 9 years ago. An evaluation of the conditions in the country were made. The region of the Central Balkan NP proved appropriate.

Chionomys nivalis, Vormela peregusna, Microspallas leucodon, Myotis bechsteininii, Felis sylvestris, Dryomys nitedula, Muscardinus avellanarius, Rupicapra rupicapra, Ficedula semitorquata, Turdus torquatus, Prunella, Eremophila alpestris balcanica and Dendrocopos leucotos lilfordi are populations of global significance that range over the park.

The Central Balkan NP is the most important protected territory of global significance for the protection of Ficedula semitorquata, Dendrocopos leucotos lilfordi, Myotis bechstieninii, Vormela peregusna and Spalax leucodon.

One of the last in Europe habitats of large predatory birds, bear, wolf, Balkan chamois are found here.

The territory of the park is of national importance for the protection of the populations of Aquila heliaca, Aquila chrysaetos, Strix uralensis, Tetrao bonasia, dozens of bat species.

Central Balkan is an exceptional nature protection reservoir, in which about 70 % of the invertebrate taxa found in Bulgaria and 54 % of the vertebrate terrestrial animal species bred in the country are protected.