Bulgarian Court Rules in Favor of 'Hollywood-harmed' Bats

Society » ENVIRONMENT | February 23, 2012, Thursday // 19:09
Bulgarian Court Rules in Favor of 'Hollywood-harmed' Bats: Bulgarian Court Rules in Favor of 'Hollywood-harmed' Bats Bulgarian environmentalists insist that after Hollywood's filming only 8 000 bats remained in the Devetashka Cave, while last year they were 30 000. Photo by Impact Press Group

The Administrative Court in the Bulgarian northern city of Pleven ruled Thursday in behalf of eco activists in the case of bats being harmed during the shooting of US blockbuster "The Expendables 2."

The magistrates ruled that the Hollywood team had received in violation of the law a permit to film in Bulgaria's Devetashka cave and the Regional Inspectorate of Environment and Waters failed to carry a procedure for feasibility assessment since the cave is located in two protected areas from Natura 2000.

At the end of November, a Bulgarian zoologist alarmed that the bat population in the Bulgarian Devetashka Cave, a key spot for spending the winter season, has been reduced to 1/4 by the recent filming the "Expendables 2."

The Devetashka Cave, located in central northern Bulgaria, houses for the winter a key European bat colony, with many endangered species protected in the country and Europe.

An excessive number of dead bats were found after the shooting of "The Expendables 2," claimed environmentalists.

It was reported that the European Commission has sent a letter to the Bulgarian Ministry of Environment and Waters, inquiring information on the case with the dead bats in the Devetashka cave.

Experts of the Ministry and of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, BAS, conducted their own probe and announced that the majority of bats were found to be in hibernation and the dead ones were within the norm of the usual mortality rate.

In mid-January, the Veliko Tarnovo Appellate Prosecutor's Office decided that their Lovech colleagues had failed to fulfill their duties to check the cave during the filming of the movie and issued a permit, despite being alerted about possible violations.

With this decision, the Veliko Tarnovo prosecutors become the first State authority to side with the environmentalists in their claims the Environmental Ministry had failed to counter the violations.

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Tags: Administrative Court, Pleven, NATURA 2000, EC, European Commision, Ministry of Environment and Waters, sanctions, bats, habitats, expendables 2, filming, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, biological diversity, Lovech, devetashka cave, Center for Bat Studies and Protection, probe, Appellate Prosecutor's Office, Veliko Tarnovo, Regional Prosecutor's Office, Lovech
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