Six years ago, we couldn’t have imagined making a partnership with the City Hall of Salonta (Bihor, Romania) for the conservation of the Great Bustard. Not to mention on the municipality’s own initiative! Nonetheless, this is exactly what happened. We are thrilled that the project „Conservation, protection and promotion of natural values in the Salonta-Békéscsaba cross-border area (ROHU-14) – The Nature Corner” has seen the light. At last, we have the opportunity to attend to this species just like we wished for many years ago and just like it deserves to.
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the Great Bustard (Otis tarda) is a globally vulnerable species, already extinct in many European countries where it used to be native. In Romania, the species knew a massive decline starting with the 1920s. Thus, in the last few years, one could see great bustards in Romania only in the Western Plains.
Our field observations of the last 12 years confirm the existence of a cross border population in the Salonta (Bihor) area, in the border region with Hungary, where we counted around 40-50 individuals. This is the ONLY viable population of Great Bustard in Romania! From a conservational point of view, such a population lies in a critical stage and conservation measures are required to insure its stabilization.
Therefore, we shall be involved in laborious expert duties in the next 26 months. And even more, since we see this project as a new stage of a larger and more comprehensive programme that aims not only to stabilize the population, but also to increase it on the long term.
We are aware that we cannot make conservation without involving the local community. This is why information and awareness raising aimed at the locals, and the ecological education of school children (of Salonta and the nearby villages) will go side by side. The main reason is because the fragile habitat of the Great Bustard is affected, limited and fragmented by human activities: agriculture (converting grassland to cropland, farming machines are putting the lives of chicks at risk), but also the electric power distribution (the high and medium voltage wiring has a barrier effect and is a cause of death by collision).
We invite you to stay with us and to visit the Facebook page of the project – The Nature Corner. More information and materials about the great bustard will be coming up.
And finally, we would like to share another big news: after more than 40 years, now, we have the certainty that the Great Bustard is indeed nesting in Romania.
Stay with us! We’ll be back with more details.