Photo: Vladimir Mladenov

In July, experts from the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds (BSPB) successfully captured and tagged with a GPS transmitter Dalmatian pelican in Albania. The project is coordinated by colleagues from Protection and Preservation of Nature in Albania (PPNEA), with BSPB experts contributing their experience and expertise in capturing pelicans and tagging with GPS transmitters.

The young Dalmatian pelican was captured in the Divjaka-Karavasta National Park. For nearly a month now, the bird has been transmitting signals that allow us to track its exact location.

The purpose of this activity is to gather more data about the movements of Dalmatian pelicans between their nesting colony in Divjaka-Karavasta and one of their main feeding areas in the Narta Lagoon. There is currently an active project to build a second major airport in Albania between these two wetland areas. If realized, it will cause an ecological catastrophe in the region, as this is the richest ornithological area in Albania. The infrastructure project of such magnitude will have significant direct and indirect negative impacts on the environment. One of the most vulnerable species in this case is the Dalmatian pelican. These heavy and non-maneuverable birds is at risk of collisions with aircraft. We expect that the data from the pelican we captured will unequivocally demonstrate that the planned airport location is extremely dangerous and obstructs the pelicans’ route between their breeding and feeding grounds.

Our colleagues from PPNEA are taking legal action against the airport project, and this data will be highly valuable for them to support their case.

This activity is carried out within the framework of the project Protecting Vjosa’s Delta from Unsustainable Urban Development,’ funded by the Donors’ Initiative for Mediterranean Freshwater Ecosystems (DIMFE). The participation of BSPB experts in this initiative is made possible with the assistance of the “Pelican Way of LIFE” project (LIFE18/NAT/NL/000716), funded by the LIFE Programme of the European Union and with the assistance of the Whitley Fund for Nature.