THE MAIN THREATS – poaching and disturbance
Posted on April 4, 2017
Hunting regulations in the lakes area are prescribed in the management plans of the protected areas, adopted in 2002. They prohibit hunting at a distance less than 100 meters from the banks of the lake and in the lake itself, which covers only 13% of the SPA. Even so, these regulations are often violated: hunting of protected species from the banks of the lake, from boats in the lake, with sound decoys, with magazine guns, without hunting permits, in non-hunting days, in low visibility, the limits of hunted birds are not observed (2 geese and 5 ducks per person). All these violations affect the numbers and the behavior of the wintering Red-breasted geese in Durankulak Lake. In the last 20 years the population of this species is decreasing dramatically and is already classified as Endangered due to the IUCN category list. The maximum numbers of the Red-breasted Goose in Shabla and Durankulak Lakes dropped from 67000 birds in 1990s to 23 780 in 2017. In December and January when hunting becomes more intense the geese move to overnight in the sea, where they are more exposed to natural dangers and bad weather conditions. Feeding, as well, takes place more inland (up to 30km) to avoid persecution. All these result in a greater energy losses and mortality; unsuccessful breeding and lower number of laid eggs. Illegal fishing is also a serious threat for the geese, which results in disturbance and net entangling.
Legal protection of the lake is accomplished by several governmental institutions: Regional Inspectorate for Environment and Waters (RIEW) – Varna and Regional Forestry Board (RFB) – Varna. Varna is 100 km from the lake’s area, and it takes between 2 and 3 hours for the agency’s staff to come at the lake and register a poaching signal. Working hours of these institutions also doesn’t allow effective reactions against poachers. The only effective measures that proved to be successful so far are the anti-poaching actions carried out jointly by the teams of the state authorities and local NGOs.