Hristina Klisurova, a veterinarian from the Wildlife Rescue Center for Wild Animals - Green Balkans in an interview with FOCUS News Agency on the impact of forest fires on animals and their consequences in nature. The rescue center for wild animals is a specialized unit of Green Balkans related to treatment, rehabilitation, breeding and returning back into the wild of rare and endangered wild animals.
FOCUS: Mrs. Klisurova are you often going to help the animals affected by forest fires?
Hristina Klisurova: Not often, even relatively rare, because those who can run very quickly mange to escape. Those who can not flee, just die in the fire. So far I can not remember a case of an animal arriving from a place of wildfire that we have rehabilitated. I.e. these mammals, birds can quickly escape, they simply disappear, and reptiles, small babies who can not flee, burn.
FOCUS:What impact has the smoke on animals, and where do they run?
Hristina Klisurova: They run away from the fire. Those who can not flee, as tortoises, hide somewhere and then are just being burned. The nests of birds, small babies, mammals that can quickly leave the place of the forest fire also burned.
On the other hand - a fire damaged the habitat of animals. When they returned, this place is no longer suitable to live there. Even if they come back, there is nowhere to hide, because everything is open after the fire. If the trees are burned or, to say, only burned in the top, they are open. The idea of the nest is to be made somewhere in hidden, so that predators do not notice them talking about the smaller birds. Their food is burnt - rodents, lizards, reptiles, etc. - everything is burning. Those who graze grass or eat other animals also have no food. In practice, such place remains after a fire dead for a long time both to the plants and to animals that have survived because it is not suitable for living.
FOCUS: How much time must pass after the fire, to restore the place and the animals can return to live there?
Hristina Klisurova: I guess it depends on the extent of the fire, i.e. the more burned a place, the more time need to recover, especially if the trees are dead. Time is needed to pass - from seeds to grow trees and make them a home for wildlife. I suppose a very long time, but I can not commit to specific assessments.
FOCUS:Does the stress of the fire has an impact on the animals, on their breeding?
Hristina Klisurova: I do not think it affects animals’ breeding. For example, this year they will not be able to reproduce again. The period of reproduction - egg laying and incubation or birth in mammals, has passed, this happens in spring. If the young have died in fires this year is virtually lost to these animals for breeding.
FOCUS:Will this have an impact on the population of animals?
Hristina Klisurova: It depends on the area. Where there is national park or reserve, it was not vainly declared as such. There are some plants or animal species that are rare. It depends on the area of the fire, how many were able to save the forest volunteers. Once extinguished the fire in Vitosha, then it will become clear what the damage is. But in any event - a fire in the reserve has a major impact on the population. In order to be declared preserve there must be a reason to be declared as such. Respectively, a fire can cause great damage to plant and animal populations.