Madzharovo Special Protection Area (BG0002014)
Madzharovo Special Protection Area (SPA) includes a section of the deep, narrow valley of Arda River along with the surrounding mountain slopes and rock masses. It is located in the Eastern Rhodope Mountains between Borislavtsi village and the town of Madzharovo.
Landscape and biodiversity
The diverse relief composed of rock complexes, rocky screes and land determines the mosaic distribution of trees, bushes and grass. The arable land is located mostly on the higher grounds of the valley. Among the animals here can be seen: great toad, European blind snake, Turkish sand boa, Hermann’s and spur-thighed tortoises, rufous-tailed rock thrush, rock nuthatch, peregrine falcon, wild cat, hare, wolf, wild boar et al.
There are 174 bird species in the region; 40 of them are included in the Bulgarian Red List, and 78 have conservation significance on a European level.
The area is globally significant as a representative site of the Mediterranean biome. Here is one of the two colonies of the griffon vulture in Bulgaria. Madzharovo is among the most important sites in Bulgaria for the protection and conservation of birds of prey, in particular the globally threatened Egyptian vulture.
Photo: Torsten Prohl
Up to the early 1990’s the area around the town of Madzharovo was characterized with a well-developed mining industry. Today locals rely on animal husbandry and small-scale agriculture. Wildlife tourism has a big potential.
Due to the depopulation of the area the number of extensively bred livestock is in decline. Thence the food sources for the vultures diminish, and the pastures become overgrown; this leads to a loss of biodiversity. Other problems: poaching, potential disturbance of the nesting birds, fires, investment plans for small water plants and wind turbines.
About 7% of the area is protected by law under the national legislation. Patronka Protected Area is declared to protect the colony of griffon vultures. In 1997 the area is declared Important Bird Area by BirdLife International.