Species in the Bulgarian Red book

Species in the Bulgarian Red book

Conservation status: critically endangered

In the past it was a relatively rare species along the Bulgarian Black Sea coast and the Bulgarian section of the river. Danube. In recent years, the species has declined significantly and only single individuals are caught. During the breeding season it inhabits permanent large rivers, and during the rest of the time - the open sea. Males reach maturity at 10-13 years and females at 13-15 years. Breeding occurs between February and May at water temperatures of 4-11 °C. The beluga feed mainly on fish. It does not feed during spawning. It is the largest freshwater fish in the world - larger than the legendary arapaima of South America. It reaches up to 7 m in length and weighs up to 300 kg. The largest fish ever caught has weighed more than a tonne and a half. It is disappearing because of the search for its caviar, the damming of rivers with dams and dikes, dredging and the destruction of the bottom.

Straightnose pipefish
Conservation status: endangered

A small fish with a stiletto-shaped body, resembling a large worm or small eel. A close relative of the seahorse and several species of sea needles that live in the Black Sea. Sticking to coastal stretches where it prefers underwater seagrass meadows. It wraps its tail to their stems and resembles a seagrass leaf. Thus camouflaged, it stalks its victims - zooplankton and small crustaceans. The female lays the eggs on the male's abdomen, who cares for them until the young hatch. Because the female must court the male, they are usually more brightly colored and develop decorative skin folds on the body to attract the male's attention.

Mediterranean monk sea
Conservation status: extinct

The Mediterranean monk sea is one of the most endangered mammals in the world and was last seen in Bulgaria in 1996. It has a strong spindle-shaped body, a small head and short flippers. Its body is covered with very short hairs of dark brown colour, often with a large white spot on the belly. It reaches up to 3 m in length and can weigh up to 400 kg. A thick layer of subcutaneous fat protects it from the cold. Because of its lumbering figure, locals called it the sea bear or sea calf.
It feeds mainly on fish and crustaceans. It forages for food close to shore. Dives are excellent, up to 70 m depth, lasting up to 6 min. The monk seal lives for over 20 years. It reaches maturity at 4 years of age.

Pregnancy lasts 11 months, gives birth in late summer and early autumn in sheltered places on the shore or in caves with an entrance - not infrequently underwater. The female gives birth to only one calf and nurses it for 3-4 months, after which it becomes independent.

There are many reasons leading to its extinction. In the past it was massively hunted for its skin, the large amount of blubber in its body and its meat.