Dear Delegates and Friends,

The 2014 meeting in Qatar was the biggest ever in the history of IAF; National Delegates and representatives from 52 countries attended. Generous funding from Algannas Falconry and Hunting Society (IAF member for Qatar) and from Katara Cultural Village Foundation, ensured the attendance of many Asian and North African countries previously unable to send representation to an international falconry meeting.

A considerable amount of work was achieved, including changes to the IAF Constitution which will be the subject of a subsequent eNewsletter. Three new member countries were voted to Council: Korea, Vietnam and Uruguay. Club Fredericus Rex of Malta and the Pakistan Falconers' Club upgraded to full membership. After the meeting Indonesia and Thailand also upgraded. Some new applicant countries did not qualify on the rule that a member organization has to have been in existence for at least two years; so in order to encourage these clubs, Council granted Observer Status to Australia, Chile, Ecuador, Taiwan and Armenia. Correspondence and co-operation with all of these countries is therefore assured.

Conservation and Culture are two important areas in the work of the IAF. Reviewing the work our organization has been doing in with respect to these took up a large part of the meeting. Our engagement in the cultural aspects of falconry and the conservation effortsmade by falconers creates partnerships with people and organizations which may otherwise have little interest in falconry or who may have previously been antagonistic towards it.

Discussions and presentations were held on relationships with other hunting organizations, the EU Invasive Alien Species (IAS) legislationand its Union Strategic Report on Raptor Conservation, the Raptors MoU of Conference on Migratory Species, Saker Global Action Plan of the Saker Task Force, illegal trade, conservation projects being run by falconers, the impact of commercial wind turbines on wild raptors, World Falconry Day and education, UNESCO Submissions, the European Conference for implementation of the UNESCO joint programme on cultural and biological diversity.

Special consideration was given to aspects of the Welfare of Falconry Raptors at this meeting.  The IAF believes that Falconers, and the IAF as their representative organization, should be seen to be the experts in the welfare of Falconry raptors and steps were taken to establish this position.  We are aware that criticism is often directed at our art in this respect, often by people who are completely ignorant regarding falconry or who support animal rightist agendas. IAF's organization of the first conference on veterinary medicine for falconry birds and its Animal Welfare Guidelines for Falconry (agreed at the meeting, to be published shortly) and discussions on the new EU Positive lists for Companion Animals addresses this issue with some force.

Veterinary Medicine for Falconry in 21st century

A conference dedicated to falconry raptor medicine was part of events organized by IAF with generousity of Algannas and Souq Waqif Hospital. It received many accolades. The three day conference included lectures from the world's top raptor vets and was attended by over 90 vets and students from 30 countries. 

Most veterinary conferences cannot include practical sessions, but thanks to the fantastic facilities and help from the Souk Waqif Falcon Hospital and its Director Dr Ikdam majid (bottom left), wetlab sessions were held on raptor ophthalmology, orthopaedics and endoscopy, enabling students and interested vets to gain first-hand experience in this state-of-the-art setting. Souq Waqif Falcon Hospital is a state run facility, composed of a clinic, hospitalization, quarantine and a full range of diagnostic equipment, high end digital radiography and high definition abdominal endoscopy, as well as research laboratories for clinical pathology, microbiology and molecular biology. Veterinary staff see an average of 75-100 falcons per day, making this one of the largest falcon hospitals in the world.

IAF is particularly proud to have organized such a prestigious veterinary event, to have held such a successful and important Council of Delegates Meeting and to have enjoyed the hospitality of Algannas, Doha and the Qatari people at their annual festival events.

World Wildlife Day March 3rd

World Wildlife Day was an opportunity for the international community to celebrate the globe's wild plant and animal life while redoubling efforts to protect them. The United Nations General Assembly set aside March 3 to raise awareness of the intrinsic value of wildlife and its contributions to sustainable development and human well-being. By working with civil society, government and business, WWF helps safeguard wildlife. IAF is a member of IUCN and a supporter of this initiative. We commend and support the establishment of World Wildlife Day.  Our organization represents the conservation aspirations of Falconers from over 70 nations around the globe.  Falconry is an Art, recognized as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO, and integrally involved in the conservation of biodiversity through the sustainable use of natural elements.  The illegal trade in wildlife is an anathema to the true practitioners of our Art and, as their representatives, we condemn this trade in the strongest terms and we work towards its eradication. We recognize that sustainable use based on sound conservation principles, is an invaluable tool in the conservation of all wildlife.  

We strongly encourage the principles and concepts of World Wildlife Day and join you in celebration of the incredible diversity of life on our planet.