There is no document issued by the Institute granting the helicopter overflights in SNR “Uvac”
Due to violation of acts issued by the competent body, the Institute for Nature Conservation of Serbia, and especially in relation to the obligation of each legal entity and natural person to obtain the document on requirements and conditions pertaining to nature conservation prior to any activity within the protected area, even for low helicopter flights in the Special Nature Reserve "Uvac ", there was a harassment and death of several young griffon vultures, a rare and strictly protected species, which caused great damage to the natural heritage of our country.
The Institute for Nature Conservation of Serbia is categorical that helicopters are not allowed to fly low around the colonies of griffon vultures. The protection of griffon vultures, as fundamental values in the protected area of Uvac, from low flights can be achieved only by banning helicopter flights, except in special cases (in accordance with legislation, in case of fire, natural disasters and accidents, in order to protect public health and public safety etc.).
The ban on such overflights is established in the Law on Nature Protection ("Official Gazette of RS", No. 36/2009, 88/2010, 91/2010 - correction, 14/2016 and 95/2018 - another law) and the Rulebook on Proclamation and Protection of strictly protected and protected wild species of plants, animals and fungi ("Official Gazette of RS", No. 5/2010, 47/2011, 32/2016 and 98/2016), where it is defined that the protection of strictly protected wild species, including griffon vulture, is carried out by banning the use, destruction and undertaking of all activities that may endanger wild species and their habitats. The protection of griffon vultures on the territory of Uvac Reserve is also regulated by the Decree on the protection of the Special Nature Reserve "Uvac" ("Official Gazette of RS", No. 25/2006 and 110/2006), according to which, among other things, harassment and destruction of birds is prohibited, especially griffon vultures and other species of birds of prey and vultures, as well as movement without the accompaniment of a guard or the approval of an authorized person, as well as stay in marked places where griffon vultures and other particularly important species of birds nest and feed.
Civil Aviation Directorate of the Republic of Serbia, for the purpose of informing air traffic participants about the movement and habitats of birds and areas with sensitive fauna, addressed the Institute for Nature Conservation of Serbia for the first time in 2010, and in the past five years the requests for data and information regarding migrations and bird habitats on the territory of the Republic of Serbia have regularly been submitted to the Institute, especially in relation to areas of large and significant concentrations of birds in Serbia. Civil Aviation Directorate possesses data issued by the Institute regarding the migration of birds in Serbia, an indicative map of bird movements and concentrations during migration and a map of important bird areas in Serbia, where it is clearly indicated that part of southwestern Serbia is an area with significant concentrations of "sensitive fauna" (SNR "Uvac", SNR "Mileševka river gorge" and SNR "Trešnjica river gorge").
In addition, the Civil Aviation Directorate of the Republic of Serbia has in the Code of Aeronautical Information (attached below this text), Chapter 2. Areas with sensitive fauna, page ENR 5.6-2 of 24 APR 20, stated the following:
"For all aeronautical activities above protected nature areas, it is necessary to submit to the Institute for Nature Conservation of Serbia in Belgrade, i.e. the Institute for Nature Conservation of Vojvodina Province, a request for issuing the document on requirements and conditions pertaining to nature conservation in the form of a decision, in accordance with Articles 9 and 57 of the Law on Nature Protection ("Official Gazette of RS", No. 36/09, 88/10, 91/10-correction, 14/16 and 95/18-another law)". We enclose this document, with the information that the above cited excerpt is on page 144.
In this regard, the Institute for Nature Conservation of Serbia has not received any request related to aeronautical activities, and therefore no request related to helicopter flights, both in the protected area of SNR "Uvac" and any other protected natural area.
False information, posted on the social network by the representatives of the “Birds of Prey Protection Foundation”, that the Institute for Nature Conservation of Serbia has issued the decision allowing the flight, without prior verification of data and information with competent institutions, primarily the Institute for Nature Conservation of Serbia, is an evidence of unprofessionalism and unethical work of this foundation, since they themselves in the course of implementing their activities and projects in the area of the Reserve "Uvac" have become familiar with the legal obligation to obtain the document on requirements and conditions pertaining to nature conservation, which is required to obtain from the Institute for Nature Conservation of Serbia. This unprofessionalism stands out especially due to the fact that in the implementation of numerous activities related to research, protection and promotion of wild bird conservation, the foundation has so far been receiving full professional and any other assistance from the Institute for Nature Conservation of Serbia.
In order to prevent further dissemination of false information, we hereby appeal to the media to seek verification of data and texts they obtain from users of social networks, especially from the “Birds of Prey Protection Foundation”, as they often present unverified information, and thus slow down and obstruct further endeavors on preventing illegal activities that damage nature and destroy wild species. We hereby ask the members of the foundation to contact the Institute prior to publishing unverified information, since the Institute has so far had a good cooperation with the non-governmental sector.
In this particular case, the Institute will organize field survey upon the submission of requests for field inspection together with the Republic Inspection of the Sector for Precaution and Supervision of the Ministry of Environmental Protection in order to establish the facts and further action in this situation, about which we will inform you in a timely manner.