Two new protected areas in Rila will be established after the government has decided to do so.
The zones are located on the periphery of Rila National Park. The Rila Buffer Protected Area is about 380 km2 under the Birds Directive and the Low Rila Protected Zone is about 370 km2 and is under the Habitats Directive. The two areas overlap as territory.
The decision is a result of a 12-year struggle of the Bulgarian society for the protection of the forests and rivers of Rila, the Coalition “For Nature to Stay in Bulgaria” said.
Already in 2007 Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds filed a signal for a failure of the network of protected areas for birds due to the failure to declare 26 ornithologically important sites for Natura 2000 protected areas.
In 2017, the European Commission referred the case to the European Court, which ordered Bulgaria to declare the Birds Protection Zone.
“With the announcement of the zones, a big step forward is being made to preserve Rila Mountain, its forests and a unique animal world,” said Coalition “To remain the nature in Bulgaria”.
With the Rila-Buffer zone, 100% of the ornithologically important sites in Bulgaria are included in Natura 2000.