Ancient Lands of the Flying Emperor - Safeguarding the Eastern Imperial Eagle in Türkiye and Bulgaria

This transboundary project is implemented by Doğa ve Kültür Derneği (DOKU) in collaboration with the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds/BirdLife Bulgaria (BSPB) from November 2023 to October 2025.

The habitat of the Imperial Eagle and the tree where it nests. © Itri Levent Erkol

Challenge

Human activities such as deforestation and illegal hunting have severe negative impact on the habitats and the breeding success of the globally threatened Eastern Imperial Eagle. A major threat is posed by insulated medium-voltage power lines, which young eagles in particular use as nesting sites instead of trees.

 

Objective

The project aims to conserve the Eastern Imperial Eagle in the transboundary region along the Bulgarian and Turkish borders along the European Green Belt by taking urgent first steps towards species conservation in the core of the Thracian subpopulation. We aim to share knowledge and raise awareness among the people living in areas where Eastern Imperial Eagles are currently nesting, by highlighting their ecological significance.

 

Approach

Our strategy is to provide science-based recommendations for potential interventions and to promote shared ownership among institutions and individuals. Specifically, we will:

  • Strengthen local capacity in the Thrace region of Turkey to support the conservation of the Eastern Imperial Eagle.
  • Increase knowledge and identify threats to the Eastern Imperial Eagle population through surveys.
  • Initiate collaboration with decision makers.
  • Raise public awareness of the threats to the Eastern Imperial Eagle and measures to protect it.
  • Other specific measures include the implementation of conservation measures and the development of an emergency species action plan.

Expected Results

By the end of the project, the Eastern Imperial Eagle will be widely conserved in the Thrace region of Turkey. To achieve this goal:

  • 5 people will be trained in Eastern Imperial Eagle monitoring.
  • 2 capacity building meetings with grid operators and 4 meetings with hunters on species identification and national legislation will be conducted.
  • 4 surveys will be performed through territory monitoring and interviews and 100 km of dangerous powerlines will be surveyed.
  • A short documentary will be produced, and 10 school presentations held.
  • 10 café meetings will be organized in villages where eagles breed.

Through the project, local stakeholders will have a solid understanding of the threats to the Eastern Imperial Eagle and how to protect it.

Ancient Lands of the Flying Emperor - Safeguarding the Eastern Imperial Eagle in Thrace

The project area is implemented in Kirklareli (Türkiye) and Yanbolu and Haskovo (Bulgaria).

Doğa ve Kültür Derneği (DOKU)
Karakaş Mah. İstiklal Cad. Özel İdare İşhanı İç kapı No: 29 Dış kapı No:3 Merkez Kirklareli,
Türkiye

Contact person for the BESTbelt project: Itri Levent Erkol levent.erkol(at)gmail.com

Duration: 24 months

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