The ELBARN project aims to prepare, in every European country, the required infrastructure and logistics for the worst case scenario. EuroNatur, the European SAVE Foundation and partners in South, Central and West Europe are running this project as a concerted action with financial support of the European Union. ELBARN was launched with a 'Central Workshop' in February 2008, where working groups discussed rescue and quarantine, the characterisation of Ark and Rescue Centres, breeding programmes and the marketing of rare breed products ( ELBARN website: www.elbarn.net).
The workshop participants identified the special features of south east Europe, compared to the rest of Europe, as being the large scale flooded or dry pastures. These pastures are often abandoned and overgrown and require the traditional grazing provided by indigenous breeds for their good management. These breeds such as the Posavina Horse, Turopolje Pig or the Kalofer Goat have a historical connection to the traditional landscape of the area. A great need in the area for national registers of breeds and keepers was also identified - these are needed as a basis of conservation work to secure the survival of indigenous breeds. Additionally Ark farms and institutions, known in other parts of Europe and very attractive for tourists and for educational purposes, are nearly unknown in Bulgaria and the neighbouring states.
The highlight of the workshop was the field visit to Vlahi near Kresna, where the Bulgarian NGO Semperviva Society has built up an ArK Centre for endangered breeds in Bulgaria. The ELBARN team and the experts present consider Vlahi to be a prime example of an Ark Centre, other examples can be found on ArcaNet (www.arca-net.info)
The Semperviva project in Vlahi fulfils the basic conditions for an ArK Centre:
• Collection or permanent exhibition of rare livestock breeds open to the public.
• The animals are pure bred and in a breeding programme.
• Information about the breeds is available on boards and there is also an information centre and brochures.
• They have a processing point, part of a Slow Food presidia, which produces a traditional, artisan sheep’s milk cheese.
• Breeding groups in Vlahi are from three species which are the Karachatchan culture including horses, sheep and dogs.
Vlahi also has other breeds and demonstrates the integration of nature protection and landscape preservation. It is an excellent example of the rehabilitation of depopulated villages in mountain areas and offers an impressive entry point to the Pirin National Park.
European Livestock Breeds Ark and Rescue Net www.elbarn.net
SAVE Foundation – Joseph-Belli-Weg 5, D-78467 Konstanz/Germany - www.save-foundation.net, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
European Nature Heritage Fund (EuroNatur). Konstanzer Str. 22, D – 78315 Radolfzell/germany - www.euronatur.org, email: email@example.com
Bulgarian Biodiversity Foundation (BBF) – kv. Banishora, bl.54, vh. D, et. 2, ap. 86, Sofia 1233, tel./fax 02 / 931 61 83 , tel./fax 02 / 831 1 841
BBPS Semperviva, kv. "Tvardi livadi" bl. 51 ap.90, BG-2300 Pernik / Bulgaria
Rare Breeds Center –Semperviva
Slow Food Presidia
Guard dogs for Bulgarian farmers
ELBARN South East Europe Workshop in Bulgaria
May 11, 2009