IAF eBulletin January 2017

A New Year Message from the IAF President 2017

Fellow Falconers, 

Our organization and the practitioners of our Art can look back on 2016 with pride. During this year we have grown our organization and made significant contributions in terms of working for conservation, promoting animal welfare and developing the culture of falconry.

  •  The IAF is now entrenched as the global representative organization for the promotion and advocacy of falconry as a hunting art. We represent 119 member organizations from 86 countries and there are few international NGOs in any field which can match our global footprint – Falconry is a truly global practice with worldwide acceptance.
  • The number of countries included in the Falconry element of the UNESCO Convention on Intangible Cultural Heritage has grown to 18, following the meeting in Addis Ababa in December 2016, making this the largest single element within the Convention.
  • We celebrated the recovery of the Peregrine falcon as the theme for World Falconry Day as this recovery has been considerably aided by falconers around the world and is a very real reason for us to rejoice. In celebrating this success we honoured two icons of this effort – Tom Cade and Christian Saar. The CITES CoP17 in Johannesburg failed to down-list this species from Appendix I to Appendix II despite clear scientific evidence that would support this move and against the recommendation of the major conservation NGOs as well as the CITES Secretariat. This does nothing to increase confidence in this convention and we intend to continue efforts for rational and science based listing of species.
  • We took a significant step to combat the slaughter of raptors around the world through electrocution and through collision with electrical infrastructure by presenting a Motion for a Recommendation, at the IUCN World Congress in Hawai’i. This calls on funders and governments to ensure that such infrastructure is correctly built to avoid hazard to birds. We were supported by other major conservation NGOs including BirdLife International and our recommendation was accepted. The IAF is playing an active role within the IUCN, of which we are a proud member.
  • We supported Algannas in a Second Veterinary Conference in Qatar addressing the veterinary needs of falconry raptors.
  • We held a conference in conjunction with the Irish Hawking Club which addressed issues of Sustainable Use related to harvesting wild raptors for falconry and developed a collection of presentations which provide strong support for this. 
  • We cooperated with the CIC in holding a conference addressing the role of women in sustainable hunting.
  • We held a conference in Abu Dhabi, arranged by the Vice President for the MENA region to develop a strategy that will support and develop falconry in that region.
  • We kick-started the second of the Flagship projects of the Saker Global Action Plan by sponsoring 10 trackers that were placed on wild Saker eyasses.

There is too little space to list all of the other projects and conferences to which we contributed or in which we participated, confirming the IAF to be a vibrant organization supporting falconry and the conservation of raptors around the world. The coming year includes further exciting events for us:

  • Our AGM will be held in Kyrgyzstan and we are planning to combine this with a conference of real conservation significance. 
  • We take plans forward to increase our effect in conserving the Saker falcon and combating the electrocution of birds as well as a number of other significant conservation projects.
  • We will be fully involved in the organization of the 4th Falconry Festival in Abu Dhabi which will take place in December 2017. This promises to be an exciting event which will support the practice and the culture of falconry – save the date!

We have further plans and projects which we notify you of during the course of the next few months. The IAF is growing in stature and providing a real support to falconers all around the world. We need the support of all falconers so that we can continue to work for you and develop our Art. This is truly the case falconers working for falconers – I wish you all health and success in 2017 - May your hawks fly well and bring you joy.

Adrian Lombard, January 2017.

The Perdix Initiative

A little more than a year ago the IAF Biodiversity Working Group created the Perdix initiative, which resulted from the falconers' concern for the environment and the biodiversity it supports. The Grey Partridge (Perdix perdix) serves as a flagship for all the species within arable landscapes which are suffering dramatic declines across Europe. If conditions improve for the Grey Partridge, they will also improve for larks, lapwings, bees and many other animals and plants. So this is not only about the Grey Partridge, which has always been a very significant quarry species for falconry; it is about biodiversity and the environment.

Through cooperation with the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust, a world leader in research on the Grey Partridge, we are preparing this Multilingual Internet Portal on the theme of partridges and their habitats, at www.perdixnet.org. The portal is currently in English, French, German and Polish, with more languages to follow: Italian and Dutch are almost complete and Croatian and Russian will come on-line soon. Each translation has been done by native speakers who are also falconers or who have a passion for this species and each national site is adapted the site slightly to cover the needs of specific countries.

The portal collates diverse information, a huge amount of it, which is of practical use to individual people and/or communities engaged in partridge conservation or in restoring biodiversity. The emphasis is on "practical measures", so the site must be made clearly understandable to the people who will actually do the work on the ground in quite small projects, and not just to the academic scientists who may be leading large multi-national conservation projects. Best-practice examples, online literature, guidelines and national/regional regulations are all included. To find all this information on one website will make moving forward with projects much smoother than it would be if all the research had to be repeated for every few hectares of land. The idea is that everyone engaged in a project will be able to access and use the experience of all those who are already well advanced in their own successful projects.

The official launch of the Perdix Portal will be 10,1 1 and 12th May 2017 in Bozar, the prestigious arts complex in the centre of Brussels. An associated art exhibition "Living in Arable Landscapes" is being organized for it by well-known artists Mark Upton and Bernd Pöppelmann and the mix of science and art should attract wide interest.

The Perdix Portal was started by falconers and set a conservation precedent. Just as we have pioneered the restoration of raptor species, this time we are pioneering internet engagement with local citizens across Europe in attempts to restore our countryside. We are anxious to involve as many other groups as we can in this, landowners, farmers, hunters, game-keepers, bee-keepers and individuals. To this end we invite you to attend the opening and to contribute with any ideas you may have for the launch, for the Portal itself and for partridge conservation in general. We are actively seeking national coordinators to bring forward national projects and to allow Perdix to link up with existing efforts and other work.

As you can imagine, there are some costs. Our calculation is that the costs can be covered if every IAF-affiliated falconer in Europe contributes 2 Euros, that is to say less than an evening glass of beer after a day’s hunting.

We hope this initiative will attract your support, and would be delighted if you could agree towards a contribution. For more details or other queries, I am at your disposal. info@iaf.org

Michael Greshake (Biodiversity Group Chair) 

International Falconry Festival Abu Dhabi 2017

The dates have been set for this year's International Falconry Festival Abu Dhabi, 4-9 December 2017, under the patronage of the President of UAE. It will be the fourth edition of this festival now being held at three year intervals.

December will soon be here again. Youth will have an important role to play, the theme is listed as being "Youth".This will be tied very closely into the Intangible Cultural Heritage; in other words it is a festival celebrating and demonstrating how the element (falconry) is being passed down from the older generations to the younger. This will be very important in the future as it will show UNESCO how hard we are all working.

Attendance is not limited, but each country may only be allowed two fully sponsored people, one of whom must be a youth. For the purposes of the festival "youth" is deemed to end at 25 years old. Ideally there should be a link between them, a father or mother teaching falconry to a son or daughter young people over eighteen with their mentor.

All sponsored people, whether young or old, must do a job and each youth will be expected to make a presentation of some sort, for example at a workshop or in the less formal majlis setting. A majlis is the Bedouin tent with carpets and cushions and each group of countries with similar falconry styles and languages will have a majlis in which to discuss things in a traditional way. "Things" could mean "How I am learning falconry" or "The history of falconry in my country" from a young person, or "How to use GPS Tracking" or "Advanced Breeding of Falconry Raptors" from an older person. Of particular interest are schools which include falconry in the curriculum. Each case will be looked at on its individual merit. Please contact festival@iaf.org  with your ideas.

The format of the Festival this time will be much more recognizable to people from the Middle East and North Africa Region, which is why the majlis will be a key element. All accommodation will be in a desert camp, near to the Sheikh Mohammed Falconry School in Remah, and to the hunting grounds where falconry from camels will again be offered. There will be no hotel transfer, everything will be in the camp, which will be opened to the public, visitors from Abu Dhabi City and Al Ain, for the last two days. 

 It is hoped that the number of young will at least equal the number of old and that there will be a lot of new people, instead of the same people every year. Please look at the IAF Young Falconers' Facebook for news. A website is also under construction and will be notified.

Become an Individual Subscriber to IAF

Full membership of IAF is  open to clubs and organizations, who have an official delegate, but anyone can become an Individual Subscriber and support our work. Subscribers receive the IAF Journal (see below) and can take an observer's seat at Council Meetings. This enables IAF to draw on the skills of people who may not necessarily be active in clubs and organizations, but who still have profound and useful part to play in the preservation of falconry.

It also means many invitations to take part in activities all over the world, for example Conferences and Workshops, International Fieldmeets and Festivals (including the International Festivals in UAE). To subscribe please go to the webpage where details may be found on categories and benefits. For help please contact info@iaf.org 

CITES - Engaging and empowering the youth is the call of next year’s UN World Wildlife Day

UN World Wildlife Day will be celebrated on 3 March 2017 (WWD2017) under the theme "Listen to the young voices", announced today by the CITES Secretariat, the global facilitator of the Day as designated by the United Nations General Assembly. 1.8 billion people, one-quarter of the world's population, is aged between 10 and 24, defined by the United Nations as "youth". Yet concerns have been raised about trends in youth's environmental attitudes, beliefs and behaviour, suggesting a decline in personal responsibility for wildlife conservation and environment as a whole.

CITES Secretary-General, John E. Scanlon, said "Given the current rate of poaching, will future generations speak of elephants, rhinoceros and other endangered species as we do of mammoths: magnificent creatures belonging to the past? We must not allow this to happen. It is the responsibility of each generation to safeguard wildlife for the following generation ..."

World Wildlife Day 2017 gives us an opportunity to provide incentives to tackle conservation issues and for youth to engage with one another and forge an inspired path to a better world.

 The new IAF International Journal of Falconry 2016 is ready!

Please buy your own copy now!



In order to become an individual subscriber please go to the IAF Website  where there is an Application form

Golden Eagles Norway

At the Council of Delegates Meeting in Ireland in November, Ellen Hagen of Norway made a presentation on the Killing of Golden Eagles in Norway. She explained that on June the 6th 2016 the Norwegian Parliament approved a ‘pilot project’ to shoot and kill golden eagles, a decision made on pressure from livestock farmers for sheep and reindeer meat. The pilot project is only approved in Troms and Fosenhalvøya,in Northern Norway, where there is a high population of golden eagles. The permitted cull will last for two years (starting in spring 2017), and the estimate of eagles to be shot is about 200 hundred, but there are concerned that, with lack of proper policing, that figure will be exceeded.

From 1845 to 1968 eagles were so heavily persecuted that they had to be protected. They were only taken off the Red List in 2010. The current population, using government estimates, is at 1224-1545 territorial pairs, but only 950 of them breed. 

There is a stable, but low production of golden eagles, and if this continues in 30 years, the existing population will be reduced by 50%. (Golden eagle symposium 2013)

 How will this cull affect the future population of the species? Read more here.

e-Newsletter Forwarding

Note to all Delegates, Club Officials and Webmasters: please forward these IAF eBulleting and eNewsletters to all your members and add links wherever you think appropriate. Similarly, please feel free to add them to your printed newletters and annual journals. 

International Association for Falconry and Conservation of Birds of Prey