Thursday, 20 June 2013

There are wild bears roaming right next to Sofia: A visit to Bulgaria's Ministry of Environment & Water

One of the good things about being an EVS volunteer is the ability to network and learn something new on a daily basis.

European brown bear. Source: Wikipedia.

Today we visited the Bulgarian Ministry of Environment and Water, located just across the pavement from our library.

We had a coffee with the Ministry's representative Elena; then, after discussing the environmental issues, watched a few films.

One of them was the photogenic environmental HOME by the French photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand. This eye-pleasing documentary summarises what many of us already know about the environment but it's worth seeing nonetheless as there can never be stressed enough on how important it is to be respectful to our planet.

HOME: the film's poster. You can watch the full film on YouTube.

The two others were environmental documentaries about Bulgaria: one about the Vitosha Nature Park; the other one about bears. Why?

Because the pure, lush Bulgarian nature remains one of the few places on our continent where European brown bears are still able to roam around, without facing too much danger from humans. It is estimated that in Central Balkan National Park alone there are around 200 wild bears living.

Amazingly, some bears are also present in Vitosha Nature Park, right next to the Bulgarian capital Sofia, a city of 1.2 million people - the 15th largest of Europe.

So be excited next time you go hiking in the favourite mountain of many Sofians: you might experience a noteworthy encounter.

With the Ministry's representative Elena (second from the right).

The Ministry's Information Centre, located at 67 William Gladstone Street, round the corner from Sofia City Library, is accessible to the public. There are books, videos and other environmental resources available, as well as the information about the Ministry's work.

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