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The call of the wild: on safari in Bulgaria's Rhodope Mountains

The call of the wild: on safari in Bulgaria's Rhodope Mountains
Copyright  euronews
By Monica Pinna

Adventures goes on safari to explore the wild beauty and rich biodiversity of Bulgaria's Rhodope Mountains.

Into the wild

A safari is one of the best ways to discover the rich wildlife of this part of Bulgaria.

Biodiversity expert Stefan works for Rewilding Rhodope, a non-profit organisation that defines itself as pioneers in conservation.

“We are in one of the areas where we are working on restoring wildlife and today we will be looking for bison, wild horses and deer.”

It’s important that all the animals that were extinct are reintroduced so that nature becomes more sustainable.
Stefan Avramov
Biodiversity Officer, Rewilding Rhodope 12

Stefan and his team have been working here for over 10 years and have managed to reintroduce a number of wild species

“Some of these animals, such as European bison, have been extinct for a thousand years others, like the red deer, for a few hundred years. It’s important that all the animals that were extinct are reintroduced so that nature becomes more sustainable.”

We went a bit deeper into the mountains to spot a herd of twelve bison. Introduced here in 2013, at least four of the herd were born here. The aim is to increase their population by thirty in the next few years.

© Euronews
Stefan and his team have managed to reintroduce a number of wild species in Bulgaria's Rhodope Mountains© Euronews

Sustainable tourism

A safari is also the perfect way to see wild horses. There are around one hundred of them today grazing freely in Eastern Rhodope. But don’t expect horses to keep their distance - their curiosity makes for magical encounters.

Stefan also emphasises that tourism is playing a key role in helping to bring back wildlife in this part of Bulgaria.

“Tourism is a key element of our work. The return of these animals receives lots of public enthusiasm. The result is that poaching, which was the main reason for their extinction, has decreased significantly over the last few years.”

© Monica Pinna
Around one hundred wild horses roam Bulgaria's Rhodope Mountains.© Monica Pinna