Eagles Beyond Borders – Protecting the precious imperial eagle on the Balkan Peninsula

Once widespread along the central and Balkan region, the imperial eagle faces many threats today, driving the species to lose its live. Countries of the European Green Belt have recognized that this majestic animal needs sustainable cross-border protection – a task that the Association of Back to Nature takes very seriously at the border between Turkey and Bulgaria.

© Mehmet Hanay

The Association of Back to Nature, a Turkish environmental youth organisation, is active on the ground to save habitats of the imperial eagle and to spread the word. This new member of the European Green Belt Association has just launched a project titled “Eagles Beyond Borders” in which it implements its activities in Natura 2000 sites in southeast of Bulgaria and adjacent areas.

What the project aims for:

1) To establish base line information on the distribution of key species, local attitude and potential threats

2) To establish cross-border cooperation and build capacity for conservation of key species and identification and management of protected areas and Natura 2000 sites

3) To contribute to environmental education of young people

4) To reduce garbage and littering in riverine and coastal habitats


And how does the Association of Back to Nature do this?


1. Mapping the breeding sites and habitats of the globally threatened imperial eagle

2. Involving young people and citizens in campaigning against littering of coastal and riparian areas

3. Big cleaning actions at beaches

4. Involving young people in bird migration studies in the cross-border area through a “common migration camp”

5. Identification of possible Natura 2000 sites in Kırklareli and Edirne regions based on the distribution data of the imperial eagle and other key species

6. Organizing imperial eagle nest protection in Turkey and Bulgaria


This project is supported by the European Green Belt Network to strengthen cross-border cooperation with Bulgarian NGOs and to apply for joint projects. Project partner is the Reconstruction and Development Union, which is funded by the Interreg-IPA "Bulgaria – Turkey" cross-border programme.


In Europe, the imperial eagle mainly exists in the Carpathian Basin. It breeds in Hungary, Austria, Slovakia, North Macedonia, Serbia, Romania, and Bulgaria. A smaller population breeds in Turkey. This umbrella species is at the bank of extinction due to numerous factors: Habitat change and intensive agriculture are among the main causes leading to the reduction and disappearance. Also, improper use of pesticides in agriculture, illegal poison baiting, poaching and electrocution cause the death of many eagles.