Under Article 3 of Directive of the European Union for maintaining captive animals (Council Directive 1999 22/EC) of 29 March 1999), one of the conditions to be fulfilled by every zoo in the European Union is conservation and protection of biodiversity. Member states shall take all measures to ensure that zoos in their territory promote public education and raising awareness of the population in terms of conservation of biological diversity, particularly by providing information on species that are part of their parent flocks and their natural habitat for promoting public education and awareness in relation to the conservation of biodiversity, particularly by providing information about the species exhibited and their natural habitats.
This directive provides the basic guide for members of the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA), and further obliges its members to abide and respect these principles.
The Republic of Macedonia as a candidate for membership in the European Union must proceed in a direction indicating compliance in its methods of operation with the requirements of EAZA rules.
The Bitola Zoo, in April 2012, officially received the status of "potential candidate EAZA - the phase of reconstruction" and thus committed itself to implement all requirements of this European organization, including the requirement for conservation plant and animal species.
Regarding promotion and protection of the entire biodiversity, the zoo undertaken the following activities:
Improving the living conditions of the captive population in the zoo. All reconstruction and extension plans achieve at least the minimum standards that currently apply in the European Union. This guiding principle is incorporated throughout the recently completed technical documentation for complete reconstruction of the zoo.
Educational program for marketing and promotion of the Zoological Garden includes cooperation with external institutions (primarily primary and secondary schools and universities). Through this cooperation the structural capacity of the zoo will be strengthened as well as its outreach to educate the public about its mission, directly contributing to the preservation of existing biodiversity.
The educational program further shall be implemented through collaboration with all educational institutions in the Pelagonia region, with zoos in Skopje, Ljubljana, Budapest, Jagodina, Belgrade and Thessaloniki, and most importantly of all, the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria.
Conservation and preservation of biodiversity remains one of the top priorities in the work of Bitola Zoo.
As examples of conservation awareness in the zoo, among the population of the Bitola Zoo is an extremely rare bird, the Red-footed Mariovo Eagle (Gyps Fulvus). The weight of this bird is from 6 to 11 kg. The length of the eagle (from beak to tail) is between 95 to 105 cm. They have an expansive wingspan of between 240-280 cm. In captivity they have been known to live more than 40 years.
Another example in the large raptor category is the White-headed eagle. It is identified by its large size, white head and for flying with wings wide open, slightly raised up to form the letter V, with "fingers" (tips of the feathers) spread individually. This distinguishes it from the black vulture. The color of the feathers on the inner side is brighter than the outside. Its head and tail are shorter, unlike the large eagles. The species is very sociable, living in groups; Young adults are identified by a darker coloration and brown neck. Usually nesting in cuts rocks, colonies can reach a few dozen pairs. In rare cases an individual bird may raid the nest of another bird (raven, eagle), removing the eggs. When searching for food, they often travel long distances from their home colony. The mating season is from December to mid-February, with a parent pair producing a single egg. The process of incubation lasts until mid-April and the young remain in the nest until mid-August.
Currently the zoo and Bitola holds a pair of these eagles. In 2011 the pair successfully produced offspring, an encouraging development in their preservation.
In order to preserve and protect the pair, the Bitola Zoo has undertaken several activities:
The white-headed eagle is an important feature of educational tours called "The Trail of Feathers and Colors", intended primarily to educate the younger population that visit the Bitola Zoo, and thus contribute to the conservation of biodiversity through its promotion.
Furthermore, in the planned renovation of the zoo, there shall be a dedicated habitat for this bird, incorporating the contemporary standards in terms of security, transparency and conditions for life for the eagles, providing a captive environment most closely approximating the natural environment.