Festival website; eagles in Colombia; drones and wildlife; meeting on illegal killing.

IAF eBulletin July 2017

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The website of the International Festival of Falconry displayed on an iPhone

www.FalconryFestival.ae

The official website of the 4th International Festival of Falconry has been launched in English, with an Arabic version following soon.

The colourful website is packed with information on the planned programme of activities and workshops, alongside inspiring photos representing this year's theme of Youth.

Visitors can also read about the history of the festival and the life of the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan: falconer, conservationist, and originator in 1976 of the first of these international gatherings.

The festival will run from 4-9 December, starting with a desert-based programme aimed at falconers and specialists, and finishing with a two-day public festival in Abu Dhabi city.

You do not have to be sponsored, or be a 'youth', to attend - and we would be delighted to see you there. If you would like to come, please email Festival Coordinator Boukje Tuinhout.

Saluki dog
Desert campfire
Houbara bustard
Go to falconryfestival.ae

Isidor's Eagle Project FADA, Colombia

Julian Mühle, IAF representative for the "Asociación Chilena de Cetrería y Conservación de las Aves Rapaces", writes:

The Fundación Águila de los Andes (FADA) was founded in 2016. Its affiliated facility Centro de Rehabilitacion de Aves Rapaces San Isidro (CRARSI), an IAF Associate Member, was started by Alex Ospina and his sons in 2001.

Its aim is to rehabilitate injured raptors native to Colombia including ornate hawk-eagles, orange-breasted falcons and its focus species, the little-studied Isidor's eagle.

The Isidor's eagle (Spizaetus isidori) is the second-largest forest eagle in South America, with a weight of up to three kilograms and a wingspan of 166 cm. This magnificent species, also known as the black-and-chestnut eagle, is endangered due to habitat loss.

However, recent cases have also highlighted increased persecution by humans. The species is endemic to the dense jungle, preying on monkeys, sloths and toucans, but the expansion of human settlements into the humid rainforests at an altitude exceeding 1500 m has led to increased predation on domestic poultry. This in turn has led to the killing of Isidor's eagles by farmers who rely on said livestock to feed their families.

The CRARSI center has made it its mission to rehabilitate injured Isidor's eagles using falconry methods and expert veterinary care. FADA also studies this species in order to better understand the reasons for its decline in the wild and how this could be counteracted.

The initiative has been funded privately by Alex Ospina and supported with scientific knowledge by the FADA foundation, composed of a group of nine dedicated volunteers, biologists, veterinarians and falconers. Experts estimate that there are only approximately 100 pairs of Isidor's eagles left in the wild.

In early 2016, the wildlife authorities brought a juvenile Isidor's eagle to CRARSI which had been shot as a result of predation on chicken. Thankfully, the team of vets was able to determine that the main damage was to primary feathers and not to the muscles or bones.

After taking out the shotgun pellets and imping the broken primaries, the juvenile was slowly nursed back to health and, with a rich diet and some exercise, regained its fitness.

On 22 September 2016, the juvenile was released back into the wild close to the nest where it was raised, after measures had been taken to ensure the cooperation of local farmers.

An Ecotone transmitter donated by the IAF functioned well for six months, giving valuable information on the behavior pattern of juvenile Isidor's eagles, which stay in the vicinity of their parents for up to two years.

In February 2017, the transmitter ceased to transmit, as the juvenile left its parents' territory and moved to an area where there is no mobile reception. While this unfortunately means that there has not been any further information on that individual eagle, the good news is that it appears to be setting up its territory in an area remote from human activity where it can hopefully breed.

Currently FADA is looking to spread awareness and thus generate publicity and scientific interest, hopefully incentivizing the Columbian government and conservation authorities to help restore the Isidor's eagle.

Follow their progress and help spread awareness via FADA's Facebook page, or visit fada.org.co (in Spanish, or in English via Google Translate here).

You can also help this project by by donating through the FADA website, or by purchasing from their collection of Isidor's eagle clothing

Shop now
Shop now
Drone flying low

Drones and Wildlife Disturbance

A Swiss study has found that drones with "target-oriented flight patterns" provoke the strongest reactions from wildlife, with birds being the most sensitive of animal groups.

The systematic review of existing research into the effects on wildlife of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), led by conservation biologist Margarita Mulero-Pázmány and published 21 June in the multidisciplinary journal PLOS One, also provides guidelines for pilots based on its analysis.

The recreational use of drones has become widespread, with some parks and reserves banning their use. But the findings also have implications for the use of UAS in conservation, research and monitoring.

The list of recommendations (.doc download) includes: flying for as short a time as possible and at the highest possible altitude; avoiding maneuvers above animals; favouring 'lawn-mower' flight patterns and indirect approaches; and avoiding using UAS that resemble predators.

Screenshot of powerpoint presentation

IAF at Bern Convention/CMS Meeting on Illegal Killing and Trade

IAF CEO Gary Timbrell writes:

The IAF made a presentation to the Bern Convention/Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) Joint Meeting on Illegal Killing and Trade in Sliema, Malta, on 22 and 23 June, which IAF Vice-president for Europe, Janusz Selicki, also attended.

The presentation, entitled Achieving Awareness of Illegal Trafficking: Mobilizing the support of falconry communities, supports the CMS current thinking that hunters/falconers are part of the solution, rather than being the problem.

You can view a PDF of the presentation here, and a PDF of the speaking notes to accompany each slide here

Representatives seated at the meeting in Malta

The Illegal Killing and Trade sessions focussed on formulating a 'Scoreboard' to assess the efficiency of different countries' legislation against illegal killing/trade.

We had to work hard with FACE and the FKNK (the Maltese Federation for Hunting and Conservation) to prevent constant mention of 'illegal hunting', instead of the wording 'illegal killing' which was agreed as long ago as Christian de Coune’s time as IAF president.

This may seem a small thing, but falconers went through this in the 1970s when the word 'falconry' was constantly prefixed with the word 'illegal', so much so that governments believed all falconry to be illegal.

We successfully removed such references from the document, and FACE has thanked the IAF for our support.

As well as taking opportunities to network and build on our existing relationships, we also met with the two Maltese falconry clubs to encourage them towards UNESCO inscription.

Cover of IAF 2017 Journal

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