PHOTO EXHIBITION AND EXCHANGE OF
The initiative “Wild animals of Stara Planina – Photo exhibition and exchange of experience” aims to explore opportunities for photo hunting and observation of wild animals in Stara Planina and the Pre-Balkan region. The desire of the organizers is to gather in one place people related to wildlife photography and fauna observation, as well as enthusiasts with regard to nature and its inhabitants.
Observation and filming, especially of large mammals and birds of prey in Stara planina, is a challenge. It often takes a long time, a lot of walking and patience to get to success. That is why a group of local enthusiasts organize this event to share good practices, suitable
locations for photo hunting, problems and solutions related to this activity. The event also aims to create conditions for the exchange of experience between the participants. We are fortunate to hold this event at the central
part of the Pre-Balkans – a region with exceptional natural features, which allows us to observe a brown bear and a black stork, or a wild goat and a native kingfisher in the same day. People in most of the European continent can only dream of such biodiversity – a value we have a duty to preserve for future generations. Another important factor favoring the holding of this event is the Municipality of Sevlievo, which supports the photography of wild animals, as a traditional host of the international photo exhibition “Divoto”. During the organization of the photo exhibition, the principles of supporting the local population and especially the small farmers are laid down. It also gives a platform to various artists who draw inspiration from nature, and directs the attention of
visitors and participants to environmental practices. The purpose of the event is not only to satisfy the aesthetic needs of visitors, but also to promote sustainable forms of tourism in
the area, such as alternative and eco tourism.
The biggest and longest Bulgarian mountain
AREA AND BOUNDARIES
The Stara planina is located in Central Bulgaria and is part of the Staroplanina chain system together with the Pre-Balkan. Its area is 11,596.4 km2, and its width is from 15 to 50 km. Its average altitude is 722 m. It stretches along the entire length of the country – from the west, from our border with Serbia, to the east to the Black Sea. Its northern border with the Pre-Balkans is delineated by a number of valleys, saddles and depressions. To the south, the steep slopes of the mountain rest on the range of Sub-Balkan fields that separate it from Sredna Gora.
The oldest known name of Stara planina is Aemon, and later Hem, Hemus, Emus. They are of Thracian origin and mean ridge, watershed, border. Later, individual parts of it were given different names: Western Stara Planina – Silver Mountain; Middle – Matornie forests, Hemus balkan; Eastern – Veregava, Zygos, Im Planina, Emine Balkan. The current name – Stara planina, appeared for the first time in 1533 in the travelogue of the Dalmatian traveler Antun Vrancic.
In addition to the officially accepted name Stara planina, the name Balkan is also often used.
2,387 species and subspecies of invertebrates from the groups of protozoa, roundworms, arachnids, centipedes, insects and molluscs have been found on the territory of the Central Balkan National Park. Of these, 29 species live only in the Middle Stara Planina and nowhere else in the world.
Typical animal representatives are chamois, bear, fox, wolf, roe deer, red deer, rabbit, squirrel. 8 species of insectivores, 17 species of small and 16 species of large mammals are found in the “Central Balkan” NP. The snowy vole, the forest vole and the common dormouse are listed in the world Red Book.
Among the bird species there are eagles, alpine gargoyles, woodpeckers, thrushes. National Park “Central Balkan” is inhabited by 224 species of birds, 22 of which are included in the Red Book of Bulgaria.
Central Balkan National Park is home to 14 species of reptiles and some amphibians: rain lizard, viviparous lizard, green lizard, alpine newt. The viper is the typical poisonous snake of the highlands. In the lower parts it is replaced by the warbler.
SOME OF THE WILD ANIMALS OF
STARA PLANINA MOUNTAIN
Habitat – Inhabits most often coniferous and broad-leaved forests, usually above 600 m.
Behavior – In no-quiet places, it is active around the clock. Adults go out for a meal in the evening.
Footsteps – The length of the print of the hind paws of an adult bear can reach 31 cm, on average they are between 11 and 18 cm.
Behavior – Moves singly, but over long distances in a pack.
Habitat – They are found most often in mountainous areas.
Tracks – A wolf’s tracks can be confused with those of a dog. The difference is that the wolf’s tracks are much larger. With him, the step is oblong.
Habitat – Inhabits not very dense deciduous and mixed forests in flat, semi-mountainous and mountainous areas.
Behavior – They are active at dusk and at night. They live in herds.
Steps – These are characterized by the fact that the back toes are not printed in the steps.
Habitat – Mostly inhabits forests.
Behavior – They are active at night, live in large herds.
Footsteps – Characteristic of the wild boar’s footstep is that its back toes are always imprinted.
Their length is up to 8.5 cm, and the width is up to 6 cm (for old boars).
Habitat – Plains, forests, parks and near populated areas.
Behavior – They are active at dusk and at night. Cautious and with quick reactions.
Gait – A fox’s gait is quite similar to that of a dog and cat. The front and back paws
are about the same size. Their tracks are 5 cm long and about 4 cm wide.
Behavior – Active during the day. They live in herds or small groups.
Habitat – Steep rocky slopes, forests and the highland treeless zone.
Footsteps – The chamois tracks are very characteristic – they are long and narrow, and the two hooves stand far apart.
The length of their steps is about 6 cm.
50 PHOTOS FROM THE PHOTO EXHIBITION
AND EXPERIENCE EXCHANGE WILD
ANIMALSON STARA PLANINA MOUNTAIN
Man’s relationship with wildlife is broken. Over the past 5 decades, the world’s wildlife populations have declined by 68%. These data are confirmed by a study published at the beginning of this year in the journal Nature – one of the most prestigious academic journals in the world. While humanity is rapidly developing and growing, wildlife is shrinking. In the 19th century, this problem did not exist on such a scale, but today we reap the fruits of the controversial 20th century, during which humanity increasingly consumes and pollutes, worsening the living conditions of other inhabitants of the earth.
Man is the number one enemy of wild animals and with his activities he changes or destroys their habitats. Habitat fragmentation is also a major cause of population collapse. Development, the clearing of large areas for industrial agriculture, the construction of new roads, mining and deforestation are the main causes of the decline and extinction of many species of wildlife.
What can each of us do?
- buy food from small producers, family farms or local people in rural areas. The scale of the farms of such producers does not threaten the habitats of wild animals.
- look for accommodations that have not contributed to redevelopment. Support accommodations that extend the life of older buildings.
- when you travel, avoid buying water in plastic bottles. Smaller towns in the country do not have a separate collection system and your bottles will end up in local landfills where they can easily find their way into wildlife habitats blown by wind or water.
- participate in litter clean-up initiatives, such as wildlife photographer Kalin Botev’s – #snimkizasmet. Unregulated landfills are dangerous for wildlife.
- exercise your civil rights and file reports and complaints if you witness illegal logging, poaching or illegal construction.
- keep the area you live clean. This does not mean that you clean up other people’s garbage, but that you care about the cleanliness around you. If each of us cleans up the waste where we live, everywhere will be clean. In the recent past, signs with the inscription “Cleanliness is a sign of high culture” were often found, and it is more relevant than ever.
SUPPORT OF THE LOCAL POPULATION
Until the beginning of the 20th century, a large part of the population of our country supported themselves by growing food for their own needs or through the so-called subsistence farming or subsistence production. Nowadays, this type of agriculture is gradually disappearing, both in Bulgaria and around the world. It is often considered primitive and backward, and is being displaced by industrial agriculture, which feeds increasing urban populations. There is also an alternative point of view, according to which the principles of natural production are the key to sustainability and harmony between man and nature.
One of the modern criteria for measuring people’s quality of life is access to services and material goods. In big cities, access to services is many times more than in isolated mountain villages and hamlets. However, this is not the case with quality and ecologically clean food. Urban supermarkets mainly sell products from industrial agriculture and animal husbandry, produced with artificial fertilizers, pesticides, growth hormones and antibiotics, and they bring with them a number of environmental and health problems. Fortunately, consumer awareness is growing and this is the reason why the global organic food market is growing with each passing year. However, organic foods are not available to everyone because of their high prices.
Is there an alternative?
If one bothers to seek out farmers and small food producers in the hidden mountain villages, it is possible
to find extremely high-quality and healthy produce with superior taste qualities. But what is behind producing homemade food in a mountain village?
Life in the mountains is hard. Apart from the lack of quality infrastructure and specific climatic features, there is another factor that hinders the development of local micro producers. In Bulgaria, there is a widespread belief that food bought in the village must be cheap. Many people bargain with farm producers, not realizing that they are the only affordable healthy food alternative for many of us.
How can we change this perception?
The fact that you are reading this page means that you have already taken a step in this direction, namely supporting a local initiative that brings citizens closer to mountain micro-producers. The truth is, if we really want to support local communities and producers, we shouldn’t ask for a discount, just like we don’t ask for a discount at the supermarket checkout. Clean food is health, think about how much you would pay if you wanted to extend your life by a few years for example?
BIOSPHERE PARK “CENTRAL BALKAN” – declared within the UNESCO Program “Man and the Biosphere” as an example of the harmonious coexistence between man and nature. On an area of 369,000 ha, the biosphere park covers the entire territory of the “Central Balkan” National Park, including its nine reserves – “Boatin”, “Tsarichina”, “Kozia Stena”, “Steneto”, “Severen Jendem”, “Singing Rocks”. “, “Sokolna”, “Jendema” and “Stara Reka, as well as the entire territories of Troyan, Sevlievo, Pavel Banya, Karlovo and Anton municipalities. The Biosphere Park aims to promote and support local initiatives, traditional practices, sustainable models for territorial development and biodiversity conservation.
AUTHENTIC HOUSE “KARASHKA” – a fully equipped guest house secluded in the wild nature of the Pre-Balkans. Built in 1921, the house is one of the most carefully restored old houses in the region. Only natural materials such as stone, clay and wood were used. The roofs covered with stone slabs still preserve the spirit of the 19th century buildings. The house is designed so that it can comfortably accommodate up to 5 people. In the barn there is an additional studio for two, with which the total number of people that can be accommodated is up to 7 people. The house is suitable for those who plan to visit the Central Balkan National Park, as it is also a good starting point for exploring central Bulgaria. The place is also ideal for people looking for privacy and relaxation.
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PLANINKA is a brand that creates design books and accessories inspired by the Bulgarian mountains and nature. The purpose of the brand is to bring people closer to the mountain by providing them with interesting and easily accessible information. We want to offer a different experience. This is where the passion for design comes in, through which we portray all our ideas.
BulWildPhoto – The Bulgarian wildlife photography platform. The objectives of the platform are: The organization of an annual photo contest as a tool for expression and incentive for the authors. Creation of an annual calendar with the best published photographs by Bulgarian authors. YouTube channel for entertainment and useful information. An event that will allow all lovers to gather.