EU Environment Commissioner Karmenu Vella visited giant graffiti “Save the Raptors” made by the BSPB

Photo: Kristina Kamburova

As part of his official visit to Bulgaria, European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Karmenu Vella, visited on March 24 the unique 25-meter mural "Save the Imperial Eagle" painted on the facade of the 32 school in Sofia.

The huge graffiti painting was made in the summer of 2012 by the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds (BSPB) and graffiti artists 140ideas in partnership with 32 school "St. Kliment Ohridski ". The giant mural is part of the communication and educational activities within the project LIFE + "Conservation of Imperial Eagle and Saker Falcon in key areas of the Natura 2000 network in Bulgaria" (briefly LIFE + Save the Raptors). This is the first project in Bulgaria, financed by the LIFE + Programme of the European Union.

"Our goal was to inform the general public, especially young people in Bulgaria that the Imperial Eagle, which is one of our national symbols, will disappear unless urgent measures are taken. It is a globally threatened species and is included in the International red list of rare species, together with the panda and the tiger, but few know that“, said Svetoslav Spasov from the BSPB, manager of the project. "In the past, the Imperial Eagle was one of the most common raptors in Bulgaria, but in the late 20th and early 21st century it marked a huge drop and in 2000 only 8 couples were known in the country."

"I congratulate you for your good idea to create this beautiful mural and especially for real results in the conservation of this endangered species, achieved within the project," said Commissioner Vela during his meeting with the BSPB. "Let me wish even greater growth in the population of the Imperial Eagle, so that children from this school one day to be able to see the eagle as a walk in nature," he added. Commissioner signed a picture with the inscription “I love Nature” and the image of the eagle Perun - the first Imperial Eagle with a satellite transmitter in the country.

Within the 5-year LIFE project (2009-2013) by complex measures, including insulation of risk electricity poles with electricity distribution companies, guarding nests, working with farmers to conserve habitats and to prevent the European Souslik and introduction of new agri-environmental measures to prevent poisoning and poaching, working with institutions to prevent crimes against wildlife, education and communication activities; BSPB has achieved significant results in the preservation of the species. For five years there has been growth of the Imperial Eagle population by 20% - from 20 to 25 pairs. One year after the end of the project, couples are already 26 and the BSPB efforts for conservation of the species continue.

The project was awarded several prestigious international awards - Natura 2000 Award of the European Commission in the category Conservation; the Award for Best Practices of Renewable Grid Initiative about measures on securing the grid, together with EVN Bulgaria, in order to prevent electrocution of eagles. One of the team members - Stoycho Stoychev was awarded the Whitley Foundation Award, better known as the "Green Oscar" for his work with local communities in Southeast Bulgaria for the Imperial eagle conservation. The EU LIFE program included the project for the conservation of the Imperial Eagle and Saker Falcon in the short list of the most successful projects of the Program for 2014.

Additional information about giant mural “Save the Raptors”:

The mural is 25 meters high. This is the first graffiti on cause in Bulgaria. The creative project and its implementation are made by four young artists of the graffiti crew 140ideas. They realized the mural pro-bono. More than 250 sprays and nearly 100 liters of paint were used for the drawing of giant graffiti. Artists painted it for a week at record high temperatures, using several types of lifting equipment. See the movie for the creation of graffiti "Save the Imperial eagle"


Photo: Kristina Kamburova
Photo: Kristina Kamburova
Photo: Kristina Kamburova
Photo: Kristina Kamburova