While you are reading this magical book, you will be brought to another world – a world of endangered plants and extinct animals in Bulgaria. You will learn to appreciate and preserve the species which make the Bulgarian flora and fauna such as it is – magnificent…
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It is believed to be the world’s rarest seal species.
Males weigh an average of 320 kilograms and females
weigh 300 kilograms. The Monk seal lives 20 – 25 years.
The Monk seal feeds on a variety of fish, octopus and squid.
The habitat of this seal has changed over the years.
In the Black Sea it is believed to be extinct after 1997.
In 1985 the Monk seal is included in the Bulgarian Red
Book of endangered species.
It starts breeding in the end of April.
It has a colourful head and a red beak. It lays 8-10 eggs.
It feeds on vegetation: seeds, leaves, stalks etc.
Marshes and lakes. During the migration and the wintering along the Black seacoast in isolated small bays. Wetlands along the Danube river; Belene, Sreabarna. It has been found breeding around Shabla and Durankulak, Varna and Burgas lakes.
The female is mostly brown with a darker brown crown and splashes of white on its face.
Red-crested pochards are social birds that form large flocks in winterq often sharing the company of other divng duck species.The dive and dabble to get at the roots, seeds and aquatic plants that they eat.
It gives birth to 3-16 young ones. It has light and dark brown colors and reaches a length of 55cm. It feeds on lizards, grass-hoppers, crickets, small rodents etc. Truthful lethal cases of people have not been registered, so far.
Mainly grassy and steppe-desert landscapes. The forest plateau over the town of Shumen, Lyulin mountain, near Bankya, Knyazhevo and the southern slopes of the Ludogorie plateau.
It reaches sexual maturity during the second year between March and May. Eggs (350-1500) are laid in nests under and between stones. The species feeds on fish eggs, crustaceans, insect larvae and small fish.
Coastal freshwater and brackish lakes, rivers, estuaries and sea shallows. Mandrensko lake and Vaya; Fakiyska and Izvorska rivers.
One generation yearly. In winter – the eggs are in diapause until the spring comes. After their development, they swim out onto the surface and fly away. The adults swarm over the rivers after dusk. They mate in flight and lay about 2000-3000 eggs on the surface of the water.
The larvae are burrowing. They are inhabitants of large rivers and clay-sandy bottoms. It is recorded in the Bulgarian section of the Danube river (Ogosta, Iskar, Osam, Yantra). Popovska river (Elhovo), Veleka river (Gramatikovo, Malko Tarnovo).
The lynx is a night animal and very rarely hunting during the day. Normally in this part of the day they sleep in thickest or other dark places. Adults live secluded. Risse is a territorial animal that is not prone to large migrations. Only the lack of game in an area forces it to move.
Spacious forest massifs in the mountains. It lives in Stara Planina mountain and prefers rocky places. It is also found in Central Balkan, Rila, the Western Rhodopes, the valley of the river Danube, Ludogorie region, the Ropotamo river, Strandzha.
The Dalmatian Pelican is one of the two species of Pelicans found in Bulgaria. They have uniformly light grey plumage and the curly feathers on the top of its head. The bones of the beak, as well as the entire skeleton, have multiple hollows filled with air. Below the lower jaw, the Pelicans have a huge leather bag that holds the fish caught. When looking for food, they fly up to 20-30 km away from the breeding colonies. The clutch consists of 1-5 eggs. The young one starts flying in July/ August.
In Bulgaria it nests only in Srebarna Lake. t breeds in lakes and marshes, reservoirs and fishponds. The species nests are in isolated sites across the Balkan Peninsula and Western Asia. The Dalmatian Pelicans eat only fish and feed alone or in groups.
The Imperial Eagle, also called Cross Eagle, is one of the largest eagles in Bulgaria, with a slightly smaller size than the Rock Eagle. Its body dimensions range from 72 to 100 cm, and the wingspan is between 190 and 267 cm. Birds are dark brown, almost black in Europe, the eastern imperial eagle is threatened with extinction. In March or April the female lays two to three eggs. The chicks hatch after about 43 days and leave the nest after 60–77 days. The eastern imperial eagle feeds mainly on hares, hamsters and pheasants as well as a variety of other birds and mammals.
Today, the only European populations are increasing in the Carpathian basin. There are many eastern imperial eagle nests in the Bulgarian/Turkish section of the European green belt.The eagle’s preferred habitat is open country with small woods; unlike many other species of eagle, it does not generally live in mountains, large forests or treeless steppes.
It is a small clorful bird of prey, 27–33 cm in length with a 63–72 cm wingspan. It is also found in Bulgaria. It looks very much like the larger common kestrel but has proportionally shorter wings and a tail. It shares a brown back and barred grey underparts with the larger species. The male has a grey head and tail like male common kestrels, but lacks the dark spotting on the back, the black malar stripe, and has grey patches in the wings.
Rock and ground walls within the country,
riverside old trees in Eastern and Southern Bulgaria.
Multiplication has not been studied in Bulgaria. It lays 3-6 eggs sized 24,9-29,6 x 8,1-8,5mm. It probably feeds on small lizards. It is not poisonous and rarely reaches 1m. length.
Only 8 habitats are known and they are situated at 0,2-10km from the seashore, altitudes 10-100m. It lives near Ahtopol and Sozopol.
The males reach sexual maturity at the age of 13-15 years. It lays 267000-924000 eggs. Can you imagine? 🙂 Spawning – February to May at temperature 4-11 °C. Eggs are laid in deep water with strong sandy and gravel bottom. The juveniles feed on insect larvae and the adults – on mollusks and fish.
In different seasons – different habitats. During the reproduction period it inhabits permanent large rivers, and during the rest period – open sea, estuaries and coastal areas.
The nymphs develop in the streams or in flooded areas in the surrounding regions. The adults perch on green stems of plants over the water surface. While looking for food, they fly over meadows close to tree and shrub vegetation.
The lower courses of small streams.It is found near the Danube river, along the Black Sea coast (a stream near the Botanical garden near Varna, Silistra district.
The Brown bear is the biggest predator in Bulgaria. Its weight is 80 – 600 kg (adults), the height is 70 – 150 cm (adults, from shoulder) and the length is 1,4 – 2,8 m (adults, body and head). The Brown bear is a omnivorous animal. The female gives birth once in 2-3 years, mainly in caves. The young ones (usually 2) are born in January, jeave the den in April and follow their mother for 2 years.
Coniferous and deciduous forests usually over 600-1000m. in subalpine shrubs, rock massifs and gorges. The Central Balkan and the Rila-Rhodopes massifs.
Wildcat is a small predator from cats family. Its height is up to 80 cm and weight 3 to 8 kg. It lives in rocky or wooded areas and feeds on small mammals such as rodents and rabbits. They prefer to hunt at night and avoid meetings with people.
It prefers old deciduous forests, also in various biotopes. The main genetically pure population s are the ones from the Balkans.
The body length of the Egyptian vulture is 60-70 cm. Sometimes it eats small animals. It also eats eggs from large birds like an ostrich. On the ground he walks confidently like a chicken.
It prefers rocky regions, gorges, at altitudes of up to 400m, less frequently up to 900m. It is found in Sinite kamani National park, Studen kladenets and Ivaylovgrad reservoir, Vratchanska planina mountain. The total number in Bulgaria in 2005 were 60-70 pairs.
White-tailed Woodpecker is also found in Bulgaria.
He is 25-28 cm tall. Its neck and beak are longer. The belly has a light beige pink color. The male has a completely reddish theme, but the female’s head is black. His food is mainly insects. It spends a long time on the ground in searching for food. The White-backed woodpecker is mobile but not worried too much.
Old beech, beech-coniferous and oak forests at altitudes of up to 1700m with more dead and dying trees.
Monogamous, it breeds in hollows of woodpeckersq also in nest-boxes. It lays 4-6 eggs from April-May, it incubates for 28-32 days. It sleeps during the night.
Old coniferous, beech, fir-beech and riverside forests between 1000-1930m. Mostly found in the Central Balkan National Park (reserves Tsarichina, Steneto) and the Rila Monastery National Park, the Whestern Rhodopes – Beglika, Batashka planina, Perelik, Sothern Pirin.
The leopard snake’s body reaches a length of up to 110 cm. During the summer it is mainly active at night, and during the day it is hidden under stones or shrubs. It feeds mainly on small rodents and insectivores, less often with lizards, small birds and others.
In Bulgaria you can meet it in the valley of Struma to the Kresna gorge in the north and in the area of Sozopol. Leopard smok dwells on grass and bushes covered with dry and warm rocky, stony places.
The tortoise reaches 3-4 kg in weight and 28 cm in length.The tortoise prefers rare woods, unlike the turtle, which is typical for grassy landscapes. In May-July it lays 2-3 times from 2-8 ball-like eggs each time. The tortoise is active during the day. It feeds mainly on grass and fallen berries, rarely with invertebrates.
The existing populations inhabit low mountainous and hilly regions with bushes and low-stem forests, open grass spaces. It lives in northern and western forests in Bulgaria.
An anadromous species. Eggs are laid at a depth of 700-1000m at 16-17°C. The newly hatched larvae undergo metamorphosis and after 3-4 years reach the European coasts. In the estuaries, they meet the males and swim together 7000-8000km for 3 years.
Spawning takes place in the sea. It lives in freshwater until it reaches sexual maturity. In Bulgaria, it has been found in rivers (Maritsa, Kamchiya, Tundzhaq Ropotamo and Veleka), lakes (Varna, Burgas, Beloslav), inland marshes (Batak, Straldzha).
The turbot reaches sexual maturity at the age of 3-5 years. Spawning occurs at 8-16 °C from April-June. The fecundity of females reaches 5-6 mln eggs. The turbot is a predator feeding on fish, crustaceans, mollusks.
A marine, bottom-dwelling fish, sandy bottoms in the coastal areas at small depths. Abundance at the Bulgarian Black sea coast.
The otter is a skillful fish-hunter in rivers and streams. It has brown-grey fur and weighs up to 7kgs. When diving it holds its front paws against its body and divers itself forward with a weaving movement using its tail. The cubs (2-4) are born in March-August and follow their mother for 1 year. Food: crustaceans, mammals, frogs, birds, reptiles.
Previously the otter was hunted for its fur. Today there are no suitable habitats for it on many rivers.
You can find it mostly in Arda river in Bulgaria and wetlands.
In Bulgaria the population of wolves is 1,000 to 1,200 animals. The cubs (4-6) are born in April. From October to May, they roam the forests, hills and mountains. The basic prey consists of wild ungulates, sheep, dogs, goats, donkeys etc.
It prefers mountainous regions, shrubs, rocks, gorges, and meadows. Most wolves in Bulgaria can be found in the Central Balkan and the Rila mountain ranges. In the middle of the forest there are only 12-16 wolves left.
Swans are the largest breed of birds in the family Anatidae. They weigh between 3 and 15 kg. They have no pronounced sexual dimorphism. Their plumage is either monochrome or bi-color, mostly in black and white. The young birds are light grey with a brownish hue. Their neck is long and thin. They do not dive but swim very well. The wings are long and narrow. They fly well and fast. It lays 4 to 8 eggs, incubating for about 36 days. About 4-5 months after hatching, the young ones are on the wing. Sexual maturity is reached at the age of 3-4 years.
Permanent freshwater, brackish or sandy lakes/ lagoons, marshes, the shelf zone of the Black Sea coast.
Habitat: Permanent freshwater, brackish or sandy lakes/ lagoons,
marshes, the shelf zone of the Black Sea coast.
Unlike the white stork that lives in the countryside and the steppes, the black stork dwells in the forests. They live in quiet old forests, building their nest on some great tree. It mainly feeds on fish.
The spring migration – March-April. The young one (2 to 4) remain in the nest until July-August.
The autumn migration is from the second half of August to the end of October.
The winter wanderings – November-February.
Their hunting grounds consist of streams, rivers, swamps and meadows with low vegetation, rock complexes, gorges of rivers. Wetland drainage and over-fishing discard black storks from food. Anxiety – specific feature during the breeding period.
Habitat: Their hunting grounds consist of streams, rivers, swamps and meadows with low vegetation, rock complexes, gorges of rivers. Wetland drainage and over-fishing discard black storks from food. Anxiety – specific feature during the breeding period.
It lays 3-10 eggs with a hard shell, buried on the ground. Hatching – 90-105 days. In winter it stays under the water. It’s a medium size, it has brown shell with a hint of green, spotted yellow. It feeds on invertebrates, frogs, dead fish, vegetables.
Swamps, rivers, seaside marshes, microdams, fisheries, canals. The inhabitants in Bulgaria are at altitudes of under 200m.
Colourful reptile that lays from several tens to 300 eggs on the underwater plants. Metamorphosis is after 60-80 days. Adults leave the water around the end of May. They feed on the ground only during the night on small invertebrates. In the autumn they enter into the water again for wintering.
A grassy puddle with stagnant water, depth 20-40 cm. A stony bed of a stream in a rocky locality, a canal connected with the river Struma.
It reaches sexual maturity in the second year. Spawning takes place in shallow waters from April to June. The females lay 80-2300 eggs in spring wound spirally around the pant stems with the help of pappilae. It feeds on phytoplankton and zooplankton, reaching max. 9-12 cm. It has a life span of about 5 years.
Permanent rivers and coastal freshwater lakes. Dyavolska river, Beloslav lake, marshes and canals of the Provadiyska river, Devnya, Kamtchiya river, the Danube river (Novo selo, Koshava, Archar, Tutrakan).
It has a trunk up to 2 meters in diameter, and a broadly conical to rounded or irregular crown. The leaves are of two forms, juvenile needle-like leaves 8–10 mm long on seedlings, and adult scale-leaves 0.6–3 mm long on older plants.
Tree Juniper (Juniperus excelsa) grows throughout the eastern Mediterranean, from northeastern Greece and southern Bulgaria across Turkey to Syria. The tree is a large shrub or tree reaching 6–20 meters tall (rarely 25 meters).
Perennial herbaceous plant with short rhizome and coarsely thickened roots. Stems are 30-60 cm high, leaves 2-4, consecutive, once or double, triple. Flowers with 5 green seagrass and 5-10 large, pink-red petals and lots of yellow stamens. It has got pink colors and green body. It’s very beautiful and interesting for the tourists and local people.
It’s a traditional flower in Bulgaria. It is in enlightened locations in oak and kelly hornbeam forests or among bushes, almost always on rocky limestone terrain.
Perennial herb plant. Stems tall 5-20 cm, veins, simple. Leaves consistent, all-round, spatula, long 5-4 cm, thick white wool layered; the top wrapping baskets and equal in length.The colors are yellowish white.
In Bulgaria it is spread in the Stara planina Mountain and Pirin from 1400 to 2700 m. alt.
Perennial water plant with creeping rhizomes.The stem did not develop. The leaves two species – floating on the surface of the water, with skin, round, deeply cut into the base, wool, brushed, and completely dipped with a thin transparent appearance.
It inhabits slow-flowing waters, swamps, lakes, lower currents and spills of rivers.
Perennial, wild herbaceous plant. Stem high up to 40-60 cm. Leaves up to 50 cm long and 25 mm wide, linear- flat, developing at the base of the stem. Inflorescence of 5-10 colors, the colors large, white with aroma. Large fruits – over 2 cm in diameter, rigorous; seeds round to improperly polygonal on black maturity, with high germination.
It inhabits coastal sands and dunes.
Perennial herb plant with creeping rhizome. Stems high up to 50 cm, 3-5 sheets. Leaves elliptic to oval, tapered. Flowers with one, rarely with 2 colors. Clovers and lancets, red-brown, the slipper-shaped lip, mono yellow, with red dots at its base.
Coniferous, mixed and deciduous forests, shrubs and woodland, more often on limestone-rich soils. In our country it is found in mixed forests.
The Eranthis bulgaricus is a critically endangered plant. It is a Balkan endemite.
In Bulgaria Vrushka Chuka it is the only place where you can find it. It is found in deciduous forests, bush areas and in grass areas in the forests, suburbs. You can find this endangered plant, from 550 to around 690m altitude, close to the Serbian border.
It has a height of up to 1m of stems that are unbroken, lined along its entire length. The plums are planted at 3-7 wedge-shaped, deep-slashed edges. Stems end up with 1-2 golden-yellow flowers, blossoms are like garden peonies.
It is found in wet meadows, wetlands and streams under the Black Rock, in the area of the Shtastlivetsa tourist complex and in the Bistrishko Branishte Reserve. It blooms from June to August.
Pinus nigra is a large coniferous evergreen tree, growing to 20–55 meters high at maturity and spreading to 20 to 40 feet wide. The bark is grey to yellow-brown, and is widely split by flaking fissures into scaly plates, becoming increasingly fissured with its age. The ovulate and pollen cones appear from May to June. The mature seed cones are 5–10 cm long, with rounded scales. Pinus nigra is moderately fast growing, at about 30–70 cm per year. The tree can be long-living, with some trees – over 500 years old.
It needs full sun to grow well in the Southern parts of Bulgaria.
It blooms in March-April. Its height is 8-12 cm. It is blue.
It is an endangered species and it is found in Sredna gora mountain. It also grows in Vitosha, Pirin, Rila from 800 to 2500 m altitude in wet places and forests.
This plant grows in the mountains up to 1 meter height. Its yellow color is the reason why is called yellow creme. It has a really bad smell that makes the pollinators come near it.
The plant is in big danger, there are only 1000 or less in Bulgaria.
This flower is also known as the deathless flower, because iт resurrect after long time lack of water. This plant have healing properties to clear the liver, stomach, kidneys, blood vessels, act toning and rejuvenating.
Haberlea rhodopensis, is endemic to several mountains in Bulgaria, especially the Rhodope Mountains.
It is also known as buffalo nut, bat nut or devil pod. The species are floating annual aquatic plants, growing in slow-moving water up to 5 m deep, native to warm temperate parts of Eurasia and Africa. They bear ornately shaped fruits, which looks like the head of a bull or the silhouette of a flying bat. Each fruit contains a single very large, starchy seed. It is edible and tastes like potato or chestnut.
The water caltrop’s stem which is under the water reaches 3.7 to 4.6 m in length.
The water caltrop can be seen currently in the Persina Natural Park.
Any of 58 species in 6 genera of freshwater plants native to the temperate and tropical parts of the world. Some flowers open only in the morning or in the evening to attract insect pollination.
The plant grows in shady places. Total distribution: Europe, Asia and North Africa. In Bulgraia it is mostly found in the Ropotamo and Kamchia rivers.
Rhodope tulip is a perennial yellow plant species of tulip.
It was discovered by Czech botanist Josef Velenovski in 1899 on a trip in the Rhodopes. Rhodope tulip is a rare plant. It is found in the Eastern and Central Rhodopes and in the Slavyanka mountains. It grows on dry grassy and rocky places.
The stem is 50 cm high. The plant also inhabits rocky places.It blooms from June to September. Its colors are collected for bouquets and therefore the flower is already extinct.
Anemone narcissiflora grows in the mountains of Pirin, Vitosha and Rila, Bulgaria. It lives up to 20-30 years.
The florishing period is from June to August. The primrose is a high-mountain flower, seen above 1900m, where it grows in wet places along streams and lakes.
The Rila primrose is a Bulgarian flower, which is found only in the Rila mountain. It was found also in the Vitosha mountain.
This aquatic plant grows in shallow water and wetlands, with its roots in the sediment and its leaves floating on the water surface; it can grow in water up to 5 meters deep. Since the flooded soils are deficient in oxygen, rhizome transport oxygen to the rhizome. Often there is mass flow from the young leaves into the rhizome, and out through the older leaves.
This aquatic plant grows in shallow water and wetlands, with its roots in the sediment and its leaves floating on the water surface; it can grow in water up to 5 metres deep. It is usually found in shallower water than the white water lily, and often in beaver ponds. Since the flooded soils are deficient in oxygen, aerenchyma in the leaves and rhizome transport oxygen to the rhizome. Often there is mass flow from the young leaves into the rhizome, and out through the older leaves.
The flowers of unmodified wild species vary from very small perhaps 40 mm across,and inflorescences bearing anything from one to several flowers. The spectacular giant flower spikes in commerce are the products of centuries of hybridisation and selection. These flowers are variously coloured, rage from pink to reddish or light purple with light.
Nothwithstanding the name, these plants do not grow in marshes, as they prefer calcareous, moist and humus rich environments alternately wet and dry, in wet meadows and forest clearings. They can be found at a maximum altitude of 1,200–1,500 meters.
Siberian juniper is a low, leaning bush reaching 1m tall. Branches are densely lined. The leaves are needle-shaped, densely spaced, with a whitish strip on the upper side.
The Siberian juniper forms dense communities along the high mountain ridges up to 2000 m above sea level. It is also found in Bulgaria.
Blueberry is a leaf-bush. The stems are branched, erect, covered with a brown smooth crust. The leaves are back-obovate, almost round and endless. The flowers are pale pink, located singly or in groups of three, at the top of the old branches. Blooms in June and July. Fruits are bluish, spherical and juicy strawberries.
Blueberry is found on the exposed rocky meadows in the high part of the mountain.
Perennial herb, highly branched, bare stem, at a height of 30 to 70 cm. Leaves opposite, without stems, oval-elliptic, 1 to 3 cm long. The flowers are yellow, collected at the top of the stem in the inflorescence. Blooms from May to September.
The fruit is a three-lane box. It grows on grassy areas, on bushes and cuttings.
Attention! You can go wrong with the Bubble Sponge (Amanita caesarea).
The stalk, the meat and the lamellas are white. The hat is red with densely spaced multiple batts. The base of the stump is with bearded remnants of the general cover, located in concentric rings, without a pouch.
It grows in coniferous forests, in its thickest part, but can also be found in deciduous forests.
The shrub is evergreen, and grows up to 60 cm tall. Its branches grow upright. Its flowers are white, with a purplish outside and it bears orange fruits.
It is often found on calcareous rocks and rocky slopes at altitudes of 1700 to 2300 m. in southern Bulgaria.
Hello again! You have already learned a lot about the critically endangered, extinct, vulnerable animals and plants. You played some games and checked your knowledge.
Do you feel the pain of this rapidly changing world? Do you feel how important a single person is? You are the change! If one species disappears, then another will disappear, and it will also harm you. Protect Mother nature and her children, because You are one of them.
Start the change today, it starts with you!
Protect nature and it will protect you!
Students from ‘Nesho Bonchev’ High School
We are really grateful for the support of the Regional Inspectorate of Environment and Water (RIEW) Pazardzhik, their PR and our English teacher Sylvia Bobekova.
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