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Typical plants in BULGARIA

Primula deorum (Primula deorum) Рилска иглика

Main characteristic: This alpine plant is endemic to roughly 63 km2 above the tree-line (especially around 2200 meters) in the Rila mountains in Bulgaria Perennial herbs with long horizontal or oblique root. Stem 2–39 cm high, erect, glabrous, sticky beneath the inflorescence, green or violet. Leaves lanceolate to wide lanceolate, erect, coriaceous, in a basal rosette, with very short, glandular hairs above, greyish green glabrous beneath. Scape 5-20 cm, fragrant and viscid, more or less dark violet towards the apex. Reproduction by seeds and vegetatively. Distribution - Only in Bulgaria Distribution in Bulgaria Vitosha Region, Rila Mountains, 1900–2800 m alt. This alpine plant is endemic to roughly 63 km2 above the tree-line (especially around 2200 meters). It prefers wet places beside mountain streams, peat bogs and lakes, on the place of melting snow drifts. Local social and culture importance: It is unique and beautiful flower that grows only in Bulgaria. Threats. Global warming, aridisation of climate, avalanches, destruction of individuals and pollution because of active tourism, limited distribution of the species. Conservation measures taken. Protected species according to the national Biodiversity Act. Some localities occur on the territory of Rila National Park, Rilski Manastir and Vitosha Nature Parks as well as in sites of the European ecological network Natura 2000 in Bulgaria.

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Lilium albanicum Планински крем

Lilium albanicum Main characteristic: Perennial, bulbous plant. Stem 30–40 cm high, simple, rarely branched towards apex, leafy. Leaves alternate, sessile, obovate-lanceolate, acute. Flowers terminal, single, or 2–3 in a lax raceme. Pedicels nodding at anthesis, erect at fruiting. Perianth segments golden yellow, 3–4 cm long, recurved at anthesis. Anthers brick red. Capsules erect, elongated cylindrical, splitting in three parts. Seeds numerous, discoid, light brown. Reproduction by seeds and vegetative means (bulbs). Habitats and populations. In herbaceous communities and open shrubs of Siberian juniper, on shallow, stony soils. The subpopulations consist of several tens of individuals.

Distribution in Bulgaria: Belasitsa Mountain (Radomir and Tumba peaks); at 1800–1900 m alt.

General distribution: Balkan Peninsula (Bulgaria, Macedonia, Albania). Conservation status: Critically Endangered Balkan endemic Threats: Low reproductive potential; small number of individuals per population. The expansion of Siberian juniper can suppress the species. Conservation measures taken: The species is protected by the Biodiversity Act. The localities are within the borders of Belasitsa Nature Park and in a site of the European ecological network Natura 2000 in Bulgaria.

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Edelweiss (Leontopodium alpinum) Еделвайс

Origin The common name comes from German edel, meaning "noble", and weiß (also spelled weiss) "white", thus signifying "noble whiteness".The scientific name Leontopodium is a Latin adaptation of Greek leontopódion (λεοντοπόδιον) "lion's paw”

Main characteristic: Leontopodium alpinum is a well-known European mountain flower, belonging to the sunflower family. It is a grass plant, high up to 12 cm, covered thickly by whitish hairs. It blossoms from June to August. The inflorescences at the top of the stems are surrounded by narrow leaves, which determine the specific shape of the plant.

Distribution The plant is unequally distributed and prefers rocky limestone places at 2000–2900 m altitude. It is not toxic, and has been used traditionally in folk medicine. The dense hair appears to be an adaptation to high altitudes, protecting the plant from cold and ultraviolet radiation. Since it usually grows in inaccessible places, it is associated in many countries of the alpine region with mountaineering.

Local social and culture importance This species is credited as a symbol of mountain tourism in Bulgaria

Protection Edelweiss is a protected plant in many countries. It is protected and listed in the Red Data Book of Bulgaria.

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Nymphaea Alba (Nymphaeaceae) Бяла водна лилия

Nymphaea alba L. Main characteristic: Perennial, aquatic herb with creeping rhizome. Stem not developed. Leaves floating, broadly elliptical ovate to orbicular, with a deep basal sinus, reddish beneath. Flowers 6–20 cm in diameter, faintly scented. Petals numerous, white, entire. Fruit semispherical to ovate capsule. Reproduction by seeds and vegetatively. Habitats and populations: Bogs, lakes and slow waters. General distribution: Europe, Southwest Asia, North Africa. Distribution in Bulgaria: Black Sea coast (Ropotamo River, Arkutino bog, Kamchia River estuary, Shabla Lake), North East Bulgaria (Srebarna Lake, Garvansko marsh), Danubian Plain, Thracian Lowland (Maritsa river). Threats: Aridisation of climate, degradation and loss of the habitats due to the draining and pollution of water bodies, development of the aggressive water tourism. Conservation status. Endangered Conservation measures taken. Protected species according to the national Biodiversity Act. Some localities occur on the territory of Ropotamo and Kamchia Strict Nature Reserves, Srebarna and Velyov Vir Managed Nature Reserves, Shablensko Ezero, Kalimok-Brashlen, Blatoto Krai Malak Preslavets, Garvanski Blata, Martvitsata, Kochumina, Gola Bara Protected Sites. Some localities are in sites of the European ecological network Natura 2000 in Bulgaria.

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Tulipa splendens Блестящо лале

Tulipa splendens Delip. Liliaceae – Lily family Main characteristic: Bulbous perennial. Bulb ovate; tunic scales dark brown, hairy on the inner face. Stem up to 25 cm. Leaves 3–4, oblong-ovate to lanceolate. Perianth segments red; the outer with a dark, basal blotch inside, the inner with dark basal blotch edged with yellow and with a clear median yellowish stripe up to the apex. Filaments hairy near the base, yellow, in the middle part dark violet. Fruit an oblong-elliptic, more or less triangular capsule. Insect pollination. Reproduction by seeds. Habitats and populations: Grows in forest openings, by fields and cultivated ground in the xerothermic oak forest belt usually on well developed soils. Distribution in Bulgaria: Toundzha Hilly Country, Yambol district at 140 m alt. General distribution: Bulgaria. Threats: Very limited distribution area of the species; very small population size; low reproductive capacity; habitat destruction due to intensive agriculture and domestic pollution (waste deposition); harvesting of flowers and collection of bulbs for gardening. Conservation status: Critically Endangered Bulgarian endemic Conservation measures taken: Protected species according to the national Biodiversity Act. The locality is designated as a protected area (Tetrolika Nature Monument). Conservation measures needed. Monitoring of the only known population; optimization of the size and location of the surrounding arable lands in accordance with the species requirements and sustainability; effective control of the human activities in the area; elaboration and implementation of an action plan for protection of the only species population; deposition of seeds in the National Seedbank in Bulgaria and reintroduction of individuals back to the locality.

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Typical animals in BULGARIA Eastern Imperial Eagle (Aquila heliaca) Царски орел

Main characteristic The Eastern Imperial Eagle is a large eagle with a length of 72–84 centimeters, a wingspan of 1.8–2.15 meters and a weight of 2.5–4.5 kilograms. It closely resembles the Spanish Imperial Eagle, but has far less white to the "shoulder". The Eastern Imperial Eagle feeds mainly on Hares, Hamsters, Rodents, Common Pheasants, as well as a variety of other birds and mammals Breeding 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. Often, however, only one will survive to leave the nest, with the others dying before becoming fully-fledged. Habitat 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. In the winter the Eastern Imperial Eagle migrates to Africa, India and China. Eastern Imperial Eagles generally prefers to construct a nest in a tree which is not surrounded by other trees, so that the nest is visible from a considerable distance, and so that the occupants may observe the surroundings unobstructed. Tree branches are taken in order to build the nest, which is upholstered with grass and feathers. Very rarely it nests on cliffs or the ground. Distribution Once widely distributed, today the number of the Imperial Eagle is estimated at about 30-35 pairs. There are not more than 20 known nests, as most of them are concentrated in the area of the Sakar Mountains and the Dervent Heights. Conservation status In Europe, the Eastern Imperial Eagle is threatened with extinction. It is a globally threatened species. It is listed in Annex I to the Birds Directive,  Appendix III to the Bern Convention, the Bonn Convention,  and the Red Data Book of Bulgaria.

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Mediterranean Horseshoe Bat /Rhilophus eureale Южен подковонос

Main characteristic The head and body are normally between 43 and 58 mm, with a 22-30 mm tail. The wingspan of R. euryale is between 300 and 320 mm, with a standard weight between 8 and 17.5 grams. The upper connecting process is pointed and slightly bent downwards, and is distinctly longer than the lower connecting process, which is broadly rounded when seen from below.The fur is fluffy, with a light grey base. The dorsal side is grey-brown, with sometimes a slight reddish tinge, while the ventral side is grey-white or yellow-white.Colonial species but in many places is rare and does not form colonies. It hangs from the ceiling of caves. Often individuals with wings hug their neighbors and lick faces and their heads. It can exist with other types of horseshoe. It falls into hibernation, which spent in caves and mine galleries at about 10 °C. Mediterranean Horsehoe Bats leave their roosts in late dusk, hunting low over the ground on warm hillsides. Distribution: The most widespead and most numerous of the three species of "mediumsized" horseshoe bats on the territory of the country. It is known from over 100 localities, most of them being between altitudes of 0 – 700 m, but it has winter shelters at higher altitudes as well. Habitats: Forested lowland karstic regions close to water. It is almost entirely linked to caves, but in non-karstic regions in the summer it also settles in buildings. Conservation status: The species is protected, being of great nature conservation significance. Besides, they are extremely useful species as they feed exclusively on insects, many of which are pests.The destruction of the natural bat habitats, as well as the uncontrolled use of insecticides, have caused drastic decline of their numbers in many countries. This necessitates urgent conservation measures.

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Brown bear (Ursus arctos arctos) кафява мечка

Main characteristic It has dense, brown fur which can range from yellow-brownish to dark brown, quite round head, small and round years, powerful bone structure, large paws with big claws. The weight of the Brown bear varies depending on habitat and time of year. A full grown male weighs on average 265-355 kg. The species to which the Brown bear belongs might have developed about 5 million years ago. The females reach sexual maturity at the age of 3-4 years, the males at the age of 5-6 years. The mating season most often takes place in May-June. The female gives birth once every 2-3 years, mainly in caves, often near the upper border of the forest. The young ones, 2 at the average, are usually born in January, leaving the den in April and following their mother for 2 years. In Bulgaria only pregnant females have an obligatory lethargy. Behavior:The brown bear is primarily nocturnal. In summer, it gains up to 180 kilograms on which it relies to make it through winter, when it becomes very lethargic. Both sexes like to den in a protected spot, such as a cave or hollow log during the winter months. Brown bears are mostly solitary, although they may gather in large numbers at major food sources and form social hierarchies based on age and size. Brown bears in Bulgaria are considered to be peaceful animals which become aggressive only when they feel danger. Distribution: Bulgaria hosts one of the most stable populations of Brown bear in Europe. About 800 animals inhabit the mountains in the central and southwestern parts of the country. The western Rhodopes are the main refuge of the Brown bear in Bulgaria. Conservation status: The species has been protected since 1993, with an exception for bears making damages. It was included in the Bulgarian Red Data Book of 1985.There are national and international programmes for the preservation of the species.

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EURASIAN EAGLE OWL (Bubo bubo) Бухал

Main characteristic Considered to be one of the largest owls in the world, the Eurasian eagle-owl is an impressive and majestic bird, with distinctive, prominent ear-tufts, a barrel-shaped body, and vivid orange eyes. The Eurasian eagle-owl’s plumage is buffy-brown and heavily mottled and streaked with black, with paler underparts and fine barring on the belly and flanks. The wings and tail are marked with dark bars. The throat is white and is used in intraspecific communication, as a visual signal associated with vocal displays. It has a wingspan of 160–188 cm, with the largest specimens attaining 200 cm. The total length of the species can range from 56 to 75 cm. It is monogamous. The breeding season is from February to August. The female lays 2-4 white eggs. Incubation continues for 34-36 days. During that time she is fed by the male. The young ones fly away at the age of 7 weeks. It mainly feeds on small mammals (hamsters, hedge-hogs, hares, wandering domestic cats). Habitats: Hard-to-access sites, rarely visited by man, mainly in rock massifs and screes, caves, the environs of forests, thinned old forests, often in river valleys near the river. General distribution: A Palearctic species whose area embraces Western and Central Europe, the Apennines and the Balkan peninsulas, the region beyond the Caucasus Mountains, the European and the Asian part of Russia, Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Jordan, Syria, Israel, Northern Indochina, Sakhalin island. Conservation status in Bulgaria: Endangered Conservation measures taken: Protected according to the Biological Diversity Act. Included in the Red Data Book of Bulgaria (1985). About half of the breeding places fall within Protected Natural Territories. A slogan was published for the protection of the species. Conservation measures needed. Inclusion in Protected Natural Territories of its non-protected habitats, mainly in the valleys. Increase of the nature conservation culture of the population.

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White stork (Ciconia ciconia) Бял щъркел

Main characteristic: The White Stork is a well known and deeply loved bird. The White Stork (Ciconia ciconia) is a large and a well known loved bird. Its plumage is mainly white, with black on its wings. Adults have long red legs and long pointed red beaks, and measure on average 100–115 cm from beak tip to end of tail, with a 155–215 cm wingspan. The two subspecies, which differ slightly in size, breed in Europe (north to Finland), northwestern Africa, southwestern Asia (east to southern Kazakhstan) and southern Africa. The White Stork is a long-distance migrant, wintering in Africa from tropical Sub-Saharan Africa to as far south as South Africa, or on the Indian subcontinent. When migrating between Europe and Africa, it avoids crossing the Mediterranean Sea and detours via the Levant in the east or the Strait of Gibraltar in the west, because the air thermals on which it depends do not form over water. Habitats: Mainly populated places in the low parts of the country and in the vicinity to rivers, rice fields, wet meadows, reservoirs, etc. The European population is about 180 000 breeding pairs. Distribution and abundance in Bulgaria: It is a breeding summer visitor and passage migrant, as an exception wintering. At the end of the 19th century it was widely distributed. During the last count (2004-2005), 4 956 pairs were registered. Most of the pairs (78,8%) breed at altitudes between 50 and 499 m. Wintering birds are most frequently observed near the rivers Maritsa and Struma. Biology. The multiplying period is from the end of March to the beginning of August. The food consists of frogs, snakes, mice, etc. Negative factors: Most nests in Bulgaria bear risks, as they are situated on electric posts, dry trees, chimneys, monuments, etc. Conservation status in Bulgaria: Vulnerable Conservation measures taken: Protected according to the Biological Diversity Act. Monitoring of the population is carried out as part of international counts. Artificial platforms have been mounted and about 20% of the risk nests have been saved. A Rehabilitation Centre for wounded storks and other rare species of birds has been set up in the city of Stara Zagora. Conservation measures needed: Saving endangered nests by installing artificial platforms; preparation of a National Plan for the preservation of the species.

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