The BOKU Excursion of 2017 took us to Bulgaria
The second week of May saw 20 students from the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU) exploring the impressive mountain and river landscape of Bulgaria. The excursion was led by Wolfgang Suske and accompanied by staff of WWF Bulgaria.
The first half of the week-long excursion led to the north-western Balkan Mountains, a region in which (not only) tourism infrastructure is only moderately developed and at times barely existent at all. We engaged in discussions with numerous people working towards protecting biodiversity for a variety of reasons and despite economic hardship. We went out looking for wolf tracks with a professional photographer of wild animals. Oyla, the head of the Vrachanski Balkan Nature Park, explained to us why the conservation of old, regional fruit varieties is so important to her. We were particularly impressed by Maya, who overcame an economic setback caused by a factory fire by creating a successful and sustainable jam production.
The second half of the excursion took us to the impressive Danube river landscape near the town of Belene. For years, a cooperation project with local fishermen has been developed with the aim of ending illegal use of the sturgeon. We engaged in discussions with a local fisherman, a representative of NAFA (National Agency for Fisheries and Aquaculture) and several nature conservation experts and exchanged ideas on the difficulties and challenges related to the preservation and development of the sturgeon population. In the wetlands of the island of Persin, where access is limited and strictly controlled due to a local prison, we encountered an spectacularly diverse bird world.
Over the course of the excursion, the BOKU students learned how to quickly and effectively identify strengths and weaknesses of a region and how then to derive concrete measures and recommendations.
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