Nikolay Natchev, Zahari Petkov, Georgi Dashev, Ivanka Atanasova and Nesho Chipev
Within the scope of the present study a field survey in the area of “Strandzha” Natural Park in south-east Bulgaria was carried out. The main goal of the investigation was to gain more detailed information on the diet of the European otters (Lutra lutra) that inhabit the park. As indicators for the presence of the mustelids a set of standard procedures, such as footprints tracking and inspecting the terrain for otter spraints were used. A total of 204 excrements were found, measured, documented and then disintegrated in water. The food rests in the faeces were investigated and the diet of the local population was documented. On the base of the results we separated the excrements into six groups and analysed the relations between the contents of the spraints and the characteristics of the habitat where they were found. We discovered a clear tendency toward piscivory in the middle and down streams of the studied rivers in the Natural Park. In the upper streams, otters relied almost exclusively on invertebrates like bivalves and crayfish as food source. The fact, that even suboptimal habitats, which offered invariable menu, were exploited by the otters is an indication for the stability of the local population.
Zheni Nanova, Asya Dragoeva, Vanya Koleva, Nesho Chipev, Borislav Georgiev, Irina Yotova and Milen Ivanov
In contemporary society various demographic factors lead to changes of people habits to use medicinal plants. A matter of interest is to establish how specific demographic features of people influence the use of herbs. The present survey aimed at determining the current trends regarding the use of four valuable medicinal Lamiaceae species in Bulgaria: thyme, mint, lemon balm and oregano. In the survey, 220 people were interviewed. Demographic profiles of the respondents were evaluated. Then the participants were questioned for the following item: “Do you use any of these herbs: thyme, mint, lemon balm and oregano.” In order to disclose correlations between demographic features of the participants and their answers cross-relationships were analyzed. The majority of respondents reported to use these plants. Mint and thyme were more commonly used herbs. We identified that age of respondents had sufficient influence on the answer to the questionary. Level of education and living regions had moderate impact on the use of relatively lesser utilized herbs – oregano and lemon balm. The analysis showed the persistence of traditional knowledge for these plants. At the same time, the results revealed better knowledge on medicinal plants in groups of better educated people and in urban population.