The only mammal fossil depository of prehistoric animals in Bulgaria, unique for the paleontologic science, was destroyed in Vreloto Cave !!!

Save the Nature

updated on 27.03.1998

The main vandal still works at the Regional Inspection for Environmental Protection !!!

"Where are the green fields that we used to roam?"

This is a story about a unique place, a place that existed millions of years untouched. Now it's been destroyed. As things happen on our planet. Humankind is the most dangerous of all species - we destroy our home, the Earth. Everything is disappearing, piece by piece

Many books have been written on environmental problems, many will be written. We prefer to write rather than to act? But the written here is not without Action.

The Story...

15 November 1980, Bulgaria. A small group from Speleo Club Akademic, after hard work, discover a new cave 30 km away from Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria. The cave is located in Vitosha National Park. The length reached is 890 meters, where the way ahead is blocked. The perspectives are - the longest cave in Bulgaria (approximate length more than 40 km.).

3 years later - the further exploration of the cave is stopped because a narrow sump has been reached.

1 January 1990. Our Club Extreme discovered new parts of the cave and by 1996 more than 5 km of new cave galleries have been explored. The part discovered so far is rich in unique calcite formations and crystals.


We found several cave rooms, bigger than any discovered so far in the country. One of them measures 230 meters in length. During all our numerous visits in the cave we have taken the utmost precautions not to damage or change the cave environment. We have only taken numerous photographs and made a video film. The most unique and interesting of our discoveries was the only prehistoric mammal fossil depository in Bulgaria, containing fossilized bones of rare species, some of which were not known to have inhabited this area of the Balkan peninsula. In this connection for some time now we have been trying to find, albeit unsuccessfully so far, support for undertaking a more systematic research and study of the cave.

The Vandals...

On November 7, 1996 some of the fossil remains were broken and taken out of the cave by three people, Delian Delchev, Georgy Zonev, Svetoslav Stoilov.

We immediately tried to alert public opinion by publishing the story and names in Democracy newspaper 270/14.11.1996). We also informed the Ministry of the Environment and "Vitosha" National Inspection for Environmental Protection. All the responses we received were negative!!! We were particularly alarmed by the negative reaction of some influential people at the Zoological Institute of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. The leader of the three vandals, Delian Delchev, happens to be the son of one of the scientists at the Institute - Hristo Delchev. (Hristo Delchev was also president of Bulgarian Federation of Speleology in the past...) More than 40 scientists signed an open letter that the vandals are innocent, and that we, explorers of the cave are against the scientific research, etc., without knowing anything, just acting for their friend - the father.
They never heard his angry words: "If I want, I"ll go and destroy everything in the cave?". That's what he told us in front of Peter Beron, director of the Nature-Scientific Museum (the present president of Bulgarian Federation of Speleology). In the same time Hristo Delchev works in environment project about Central Balkan supported by Swiss organizations together with Wilderness Fund (Bulgaria). At this very moment, the father is using his connections as best as he can to stop the Ministry of the Environment from pursuing the case further and against us. Even he used his connections to publish a fake material in the 'Democracy' newspaper (02.12.1996) to protect his son . In the newspaper it is said that fossils were "in the hands of the science" and that all cavers are working against the scientific investigations. Also that a scientist from Zoological Institute, named Vasil Popov (close friend of the father, in the same enviro-project...) asked the son to take out the fossils. But Vreloto cave is located in Vitosha National Park and no one can just go there and carry out the unique fossils. There are laws.

The System...

The open letter from the father, signed by 48 scientists, was send to the ministry of the Environment. And can you believe that? - With the same connections his son, the leader of the vandals, started work at "Vitosha" National Park Regional Inspection for Environmental Protection, 'saving' the nature (you know how...). What are the father's connections in the ministry? The answer is very simple. Enough high man there worked in the past in the same Zoological Institute... This explain


What about the remains that have been carried out? When the article about that vandalism appeared in the newspaper, the remains appeared at the Zoological Institute and soon after that at the Nature-Science Museum (located in the same building). But only some of them, in a sorry, broken trim. None knows where are the rest of the fossils... And the few that were carried out turn out to be really unique not only for our country!

BUT 2 months later the remains still remain on the desk of the director of the Museum, Peter Beron, WITHOUT ANYONE TO TAKE THE PROPER MEASURES FOR THEIR CONSERVATION. Anyone knows that the low humidity and the high temperature will turn them into dust in just a few days! We ask for that the director Peter Beron (also president of Bulgarian Federation of Speleology). The answer was: "We know what to do".

The Smiling Faces...

After several letters addressed to the Minister of Environment, finally, after 1 months of waiting, we received an answer. In the letter was written that Vreloto cave is protected and that the ministry would like to support further research and investigate the 'case Vreloto'. BUT !!! The answer of our next letter to the ministry come to us again after 1 months of waiting and the answer was that Ministry will organize a special meeting of all interested sides about the cave... Yes you're right - another month of waiting...

The first meeting...

On the first meeting, become evident for all interested sides that the cave is really unique and is really BROKEN, and also not 'investigated with scientifically prioms'... Delian Delchev, the main vandal, was there also, mirroring one of the sides of the Ministry... Peter Beron was really angry for our publication via internet about the problem, cause "it's too bad for BULGARIA'S IMAGE toward world". Yes, yes, but it's not Bulgaria's image but rather some people's images... It was decided that Ministry will organize a new, 'working meeting' about the 'case Vreloto'... And nothing new again... and YES, you're right again - other 2 months of WAITING !!!

In the meantime... We knew somehow that Delian Delchev is going to make a project about protecting the cave and further exploration. From his site in the Ministry it's not so difficult to finance such a project, of course with the help of the scientists of his father, etc. What a FARS !!! But to avoid the evident scandal, after his talk with persons from the ministry, his project is changed to explore and protect other caves, but not Vreloto.

The second meeting...

After 2 months the second 'working meeting' become reality. With the help of Bouriana Konaklieva and Ryan Bell from the Peace Corps, we formulate a future project about all exploration and protection of Vreloto cave and also give a copy to the ministry of the resume of the project. On that meeting was decided that our Club Extreme will investigate and explore the fossils in the cave and will make a several reports about situation in the cave to the ministry. But to come in the cave we had to write another letter FOR PERMISSION !!! Yes, we write it down, as we made 7 months ago....and WHAT??? 4 MONTHS PASSED WITHOUT SIMPLE ANSWER !!!!

Several amateur caving and no-caving groups visited the cave in this time, in spite of the fact they know very well the situation and the "no-regulation" of the place. We don't know what is remain and what was done from these parties. Some of them were supported with information and maps from ... of course Delian Delchev...

The Permission...

In the autumn 1997, tired from all this..., we wrote an open letter to president of Republic of Bulgaria Mr. Petar Stoyanov, and also make a contact with Mr. Luchezar Toshev from the parliament. You can't imagine how fast the doors were open. Mr. Mihailov from National Service of Protection of Nature, help us also and in the end of the year we got an permission letter from the Ministry. Forest Service "Vitoshko" made and put a solid iron door at the entrance of the cave. In the end, in January 1998, we entered in the cave. In the moment the steps for protecting the cave goes...

Organizations and responsibilities...

  • Ministry of Environment - more than 9 months there is no action for protection of the cave or other simple activities for special regulation of the cave.

  • Zoological Institute - the case is forgotten.

  • Nature-Science Museum - the case is forgotten.

  • "Vitosha" Regional Inspection for Environmental Protection - no sound.

  • Bulgarian Federation of Speleology - no sound.

  • Internet, other organizations for Environmental Protection - GRATEFUL THANKS TO: Luchezar Toshev (SDS), Chuck Crandell(US), Bouriana Konaklieva (Peace Corps), Ryan Bell (PC), Dr. Norman MacLeod(US), Dr. George Constance(UK), Grigori M. Sigalov, Ph.D (Japan), Bill Hegman(US), Steve Jackson(US), Ivan Kisiov, Ph.D(US), Yassen(UK), Cavers-Digest, Paleonet, Alexey Jalov, cavers from Bulgaria, UK, USA, Russia, Ukrain, Japan, paleontologists around the world, etc.,

  • Us - our efforts will never end!

Nature?... Yes ... there is a BIG, NICE MASK and behind it there is million dollars for protection of the environment, luxurious cars, environmental Projects which main aim is to GET THE MONEY, CORRUPTION in all levels, etc. As one person from the Ministry told us: "We eat 1 million dollars last year, and may be now we'll eat another one..." This is the evident... The 'not evident' thing is:


If you want to contact any of the organizations above and want to act against this pure vandalism... contact
information is here

Just a fax will make a big difference. Don't let ours' be a lonely voice!


  ATAHAC PYCEB 1997-1998 ©