Gea Chelonia Foundation: Tortoise Conservation in Bulgaria: width=



Tortoise Conservation in Bulgaria





Gea Chelonia Foundation: Tortoise Conservation in Bulgaria


Dr. rer. nat. Hans-Jurgen. Bidmon

Member of the Deutsche Zoologische Gesellschaft (DZG)
Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Herpetologie und Terrarienkunde (DGHT)
Arbeitsgemeinschaft Schildkroten



The GEA Chelonian Foundation was launched in 2007 by Ivo Ivanchev to carry out research on European tortoises and especially to protect tortoise habitat along the Black Sea coast of Bulgaria. Following its recognition as a non-governmental organisation (NGO) it became a refuge for tortoises confiscated from restaurants and from illegal pet trade trafficking.

The increasing number of tasks and the necessity of spreading information and providing education as well as conducting research have required the construction of a Centre to enable such work to be carried out. By bringing together private donations, state support and that of several international organisations, this has now been accomplished.

On the tenth of September 2010 the inauguration of the Bulgarian Centre for Tortoise Research and Conservation took place with the participation of the news media, representatives of various donor organisations, and various private donors and guests. My personal impression was overwhelmingly positive, particularly because Ivo Ivanchev and his co-crusader Iva Lalovska have brought to bear such obvious commitment and awareness, besides which, accompanied by other visitors during my several day visit, they shared their experiences in feeding captive tortoises and in carrying out ongoing field research. Here are truly dedicated individuals and a Centre which deserves the support of Europe's citizenry, not just for nature conservation, but because their goals and scope of activities are both worthwhile and practical.

Although European chelonians such as T. h. boettgeri, T. g. ibera, Emys orbicularis, and Mauremys rivulata have not yet become so decimated as to gain high-priority attention of international conservation organisations, I consider the initiative in Bulgaria to be of extreme importance. We must not repeat past mistakes, and take action when it is already too late! But more about that in the next issue.

SCHILDKROETEN IM FOKUS 4(10) announcement by Hans-Juergen Bidmon