The Secret life of a virgin forest and highland wetlands

conservation transylvania

and Commitments

Our intention is to turn the attention of the public towards the hidden life of large predators and wildlife of Transylvanian forests and thus increase awareness of woodland preservation.

Being the proud owner of a qualified Virgin Forest, we have the duty to set an example in preserving an intact environment. We would like to create the possibility for people to discover a spot of virgin forest in the ”green heart” of the Carpathians, get acquainted with an enhanced coexistence between humans and nature and to form a buffer territory where species can be observed in their natural habitat.

Doug and Kris Tompkins, both American conservationists, have been guests of the owners of the Zabola Estate in 2008. They inspired the Roy Chowdhury family which directed them towards a sustainable forest management. Eventually this led to a certification of one part of their Estate as a virgin forest recognized by the Romanian state authorities (Notification No. 358/2018 of the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change). Further, with the guidance of Paul Lister (UK conservationist, founder of the European Nature Trust) the idea of a protective zone was developed which now covers an overall 3500 ha of private forest in Covasna county.

The Benefits

Our intention is to assure coexistence between human and wildlife living in our area, by a) conserving and recreating habitats and b) making local people part of the conservation process by increasing awareness for nature protection and establishing economic opportunities.
By implementing the forehead described program, we not only support conservation purposes but create a hothouse for economic growth in the area. Organic growth can be expected in the field of hotel and catering industry. Further employment opportunities will be opened e.g. in the ecotourism sector as tour guiding, and for example caretaker services at the Wildlife Rescue Center. Micro-enterprises comprising the selling of handicrafts made by locals will be strongly promoted by this program as well, by e.g. offering them as souvenirs to the tourists. The aim is to identify the potential raise of economic well-being for the locals and implement this concept with the partners.
Cultural events as Wildlife Photo expositions and film presentations might be organized in the historical atmosphere of the Zabola castle promoting the entire area on national and international level. The conference room in the main building of the Wildlife Rescue Center can be used for workshops and trainings for exchanging know-how about the handling of rescued animals with other research institutions as well as for educational purposes (capacity building). All these aspects will contribute to the overall flourishing of the area by significantly increasing social cohesion and livelihoods and thus benefit local communities as a positive side effect of habitat and species protection.


1.  Improved understanding of wild animal behavior and the importance of the environment
2.  A wildlife center for sick and injured game rehabilitation
3.  Wetland for nesting, bird migration scientific and environmental education purposes


The responsible consumption of wilderness does not harm your well-being!


A Peep Over the Hedge – visit to the Virgin Forest of Dobrica

Meet the KING OF THE CARPATHIANSBear Photography in the Conservation Area at Zabola

Wildlife observation hikes 


The careless administration of forests and intensive agriculture not only causes disturbances in the life of forest and plain land habitats, but also habitat degradation, fragmentation and habitat loss.

Keywords: habitat preservation, forest watch, wildlife observation, photo hides

For the past 10 years, we have been working on setting up a refuge area including 500 ha of deciduous and pinewood forests in which game can roam freely around. The aim was to minimize disturbances and thus create a hot spot of autochthonous species where there is no pressure of chainsaw sound or poachers and wildlife can be observed in a non-intrusive manner.

In order to facilitate the issue, with the help of an NGO working for environmental protection and biodiversity conservation, we implemented a sound alarm system a “technological forest watch” based on microphones, GPRS communication devices and solar energy that detect the sound of unwished activity (chainsaw, gunshots, logging) and send an alarm to the nearest ranger who can investigate the case right away. We are still testing the system (it needs to be functional in harsh weather conditions) but until now it is working perfectly since 2018.

As a side activity, we put up 2 photo hides and observation points from which amateur and professional photographers and nature lovers can spread the news of the abundance of wildlife in the Carpathian Curve.

Our future commitment is to enlarge the conservation area by giving alternative sustainable solutions of woodland usage.

Meet the KING OF THE CARPATHIANSBear Photography in the Conservation Area at Zabola

Wildlife observation hikes


Being the possessor of the very few privately owned Virgin Forests is not only a great proud but also a huge responsibility. Alternative ways have to be found for upkeeping the “tradition of living” in these areas.

Keywords: virgin forest, alternative forest usage, deforestation

The Soimului Creek (Somkő pataka/Valea Șoimului) on the right bank of the Olt River on the Dobrica Estate is completely privately owned. The untouched forest area has been testified virgin forest by the No. 358/2018 notification of the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change. Although the county has extensive areas of forest land the Soimului Creek is the only Virgin Forest in it. With a thoughtful administration of the special forest resource, we would like to set a benchmark for forest habitat conservation and sustainable service package.

The concept of visiting virgin forests presents an alternative usage of nature without being forced to alter its composition or be intrusive regarding its inhabitants. With this practice, we fight deforestation that constantly forces animals to look for scrapings in populated areas thus increasing the possibility of altercation between men and animals.

The aim is to put together a visiting strategy axed on Knowledge Hikes (professionally guided studying daytime and nighttime tours), easy to remember information posts about present issues on deforestation, habitat preservation, biology and wildlife.

 A Peep Over the Hedge – visit to the Virgin Forest of Dobrica

The WETLAND Project

Draining land and watercourse regularisation has been the main objective of 19th century agriculture. Although farmlands spread out the change started a degradation of soil and loss of wetland habitat. Conservation Transylvania would like to reverse the process and reclaim some territories for water birds.

Keywords: wetland regeneration, nestling place, groundwater normalization

The first aim of the project is to re-create a 5-hectare area of wetland which can be increased step by step to a maximum of an approximate 50ha. Wet meadows have been a part of the Transylvanian Highlands which together with the oxbow lakes of rivers (Feketeügy/Râul Negru and Olt) formed a breeding place and resting place for migrating birds. At the beginning of the 19th century the fields were drained, but they still could be irrigated from the Feketeügy/ Râul Negru River or the abundant draining channels. With present climate changes the basin becomes more and more arid and former moors and swampy areas dry out, pastures and meadows lose their moisture.

With reestablishing a former wetland in Székelytamásfalva/Tamașfalău – Székelypetőfalva /Peteni area we would help two issues. On the one hand water birds would colonize the area, a new trophic level in the food chain would be generated and migrating birds would have a new stopover place. On the other hand, forming a moorland would raise groundwater levels thus helping surrounding pastures regeneration in the dry season. The dikes would also help in storing water for breeding livestock.

Above all the project would also have a scientific purpose as well, providing a place of study and environmental education. For this purpose, the facilities would include one observation tower, several observation huts, and a nature path for school children linking the observation huts.


With a solid expertise in handling and fostering wild animals the Transylvanian Wildlife Project together with Conservation Transylvania aims high to medicate wild animals that are victims of human interfering.

Keywords: wildlife rescue, wild animal hospital, wildlife reintegration

In close relation to the Habitat Conservation Project our special concern is to establish a Wildlife Rescue Center in the district of Covasna with the main objective of professional care to sick, injured and orphaned wild animals, so that ultimately, they can be returned to their natural habitat.

In partnership with the Transylvanian Wildlife Project, a non-governmental organization which main activity is the conservation of wild animals in the Eastern Carpathian Mountains in Romania, including members being biologists, conservationists, a veterinarian, photographers and nature tour guides we intend to found the first especially for this purpose built, professional willdife rescue facility in Romania.

The Transylvanian Wildlife Project has solid expertise in handling and fostering wild animals, among their members being an experienced veterinarian and former active members of the Animal Rescue Mobile Unit established in the framework of the LIFE-Ursus project (2010-2013).

Their partners are the two renowned veterinarians from the Academy for the Protection of Zoo Animals and Wildlife E.V. from Munich who are supporting the TWP since 2015.

The station might be made accessible to the public (limited group numbers), and in this way the initiative would inform people about species protection. Animals will not be disturbed in their recovery and the taming of rehabilitation patients should be prevented!

Program’s focus:

Wildlife and Habitat Conservation, Sustainable Ecotourism, Environmental Education

Focus Locations and Program partitions

  1. Zabola Estate – Zabala/Zăbala, Covasna county, Romania – HABITAT CONSERVATION Project
  2. Zabola Estate in partnership with the TWP – WILDLIFE RESCUE CENTER Project
  3. Dobrica Estate – Szepsibükszád/Bixad, Covasna County, Romania – VIRGIN FOREST Project
  4. Székelypetőfalva/Peteni area – Zabala, Covasna county, Romania – WETLAND Project


The Secret life of a virgin forest and highland wetlands

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