World Wetlands Day 2003: Bulgaria


Reported by Radostina Tzenova (, Bourgas Wetlands Project

WWD in the Bourgas lakes region, Bulgaria

This year the celebration was very special for all nature conservationists in the region because we celebrated the announcement of five new Ramsar sites. Up until 2002 Bulgaria had declared only 5 sites for the List of Wetlands of International Importance of the Convention. But now we have doubled this number and increased the total area to over 20,000 ha. Three of these new Ramsar sites (Pomorie wetland complex, Vaya Lake, Poda lagoon) are part of the Bourgas lakes along with the already designated Atanasovsko Lake, which has been increased in size. The new enlarged Ramsar Site - Ropotamo complex (former Arkutino marsh) is also in the Bourgas Region.

That is why, in cooperation with the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds (BSPB is a  BirdLife International partner in Bulgaria), we organized different activities in the region. The main event was on February 2nd – a celebration in BSPB’s Nature Conservation Center "Poda". More than 70 people came here on this cold, snowy day – students, teachers, members of BSPB, friends of the wetlands, etc.

We had prepared different exhibitions, presenting the new Ramsar sites, the inhabitants of the wetland, etc. Experts from the "Bourgas Wetlands" project and BSPB gave short presentations on the lakes and the reasons for their being declared Ramsar sites, showing maps, slides, etc.

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After that we presented the translated version in the Bulgarian language of the film for the Ramsar Convention, which was received with great interest by the local people.

BSPB and "Greener Bourgas" Foundation (a local ecological NGO) prepared a leaflet for the new Ramsar sites, which was distributed among the Bourgas and Pomorie students.

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Young painters used the terraces of the "Poda" Center for bird watching and preparation of their drawings.

February 3rd was a day for Bourgas teachers. We organized a special promotion for them, presenting the new Amphibian Field Guide (which includes 17 Bulgarian species) and some other material relating to the wetlands. A short presentation on the Ramsar Convention and new Ramsar sites was made also.

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February 4th and 5th were dedicated to some educational activities for wetlands in Bourgas and Pomorie. More than 100 students participated in our "wetlands games" or in bird watching and lectures about the lakes.

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The bulletin "Bourgas Lakes", devoted to the new Ramsar sites, was published and distributed to staff of the Ministry of Environment and Water Inspections throughout the whole country, as well as to local authorities, NGOs, partners, and students.

We also published a full page in the local newspaper "Chernomorski far" about the new Ramsar sites in Bourgas region and the International Year of Freshwater, and gave several interviews on TV and radio stations.

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Number of » Contracting Parties: 168 Sites designated for the
» List of Wetlands of
International Importance
2,186 Total surface area of designated sites (hectares): 208,674,247

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