The most serious problem for vultures in Bulgaria today is the critically low number of populations and their isolation. In spite of two decades of conservation efforts, the WWF Greece Dadia project showed that the number of breeding pairs is not increasing and remains around 20 pairs. Another threat is unsuitable livestock breeding practices resulting in inaccessible food sources for vultures. Although the viability studies for reintroduction of griffon vultures (Gyps fulvus) prepared for the target SPAs indicated that livestock numbers are sufficient, it was found out that they are not available for food.
Availability of nesting sites is another factor: European black vultures (Aegypius monachus)prefer to nest on top of trees and to a lesser extent cliffs and strong tree branches. In Dadia, Greece, the species nests in an old coniferous forest consisting mostly of Turkish pine and European black pine. The species is very sensitive to habitat quality and disturbance. Planned felling schemes, construction of roads, wind parks, and electricity power lines can significantly damage the nesting habitat and force birds to abandon affected areas. In fact, released captive griffon vultures have recently been found to be at great risk of electrocution as a result of power lines, while poisoning remains a serious threat. Direct persecution is considered to be responsible for the disappearance of large vultures from the country in the middle of the past century.
The Vultures back to LIFE project aims to facilitate the return of the Eurasian black vulture to Bulgaria through enhancing EU expertise, improving the conditions, limiting threats, and increasing national capacity. The goal is to establish a nesting population of the Eurasian black vulture in Bulgaria, in order to restore the connections among the sub-populations of this species on the Balkans (Greece), Crimea, the Alps and the Iberian Peninsula, aiding the recreation of a much more sustainable pan-European population. Тhe project will reach a new milestone in the implementation of the Balkan Vulture Action Plan, while also strengthening the core expertise on vultures in the country and the collaboration of Spanish and Austrian vulture experts with Bulgarian NGOs and academic and research communities.