He has now been hawking in eleven different countries, but his interest and passion extends to most forms of hunting and hunting politics - hunting with hounds (30yrs otterhunting in Ireland and UK), 25yrs foxhunting on horseback (Ireland and UK), 25yrs vènerie française, stag, roe deer and wild boar; all on horseback, 20yrs rough shooting and deer stalking (Ireland) and an occasional montería (Spain). Under former President Patrick Morel he organized the IAF portion of the 2004 UAE Symposium to launch the UNESCO Initiative and under our late President Frank Bond he took on the IAF part of the Strasbourg celebration of the successful UNESCO inscription, subsequently leading the IAF team that organized the 2012 Brussels Parliament Falconry Exhibition. Arising from the 2004 Symposium, he wrote an article on the History of World Falconry for the IAF Journal and website and this has now been translated into six languages and has been used on many websites and in learnèd academic articles.
He presented on "Falconers and Communication" at the 2011 Abu Dhabi Conference and led the IAF team organizing the 2014 Doha Raptor Veterinary Conference. Since 2003 he has attended meetings/conferences in UK, Spain, France, UAE, US, Qatar, Czech Rep, Slovakia, Netherlands, Germany, Kyrgyzstan, assisting the organizers in each case on behalf of IAF. He worked with an international design team to produce the IAF website, regularly assists National Delegates with document translations and with putting them in touch with the right people and helping them with their particular needs.
His first contacts with the EU Parliament were made while working on the Strasbourg Reception in 2011 and he gained further understanding from working on the Brussels Exhibition 2012. He participated in a FACE Workshop on Lobbying in June 2014 and has spent a full year in monitoring the Dods Agency information system, identifying problems and passing on information to member organizations. Since 2012, he has been dealing with a heavy daily load of IAF email correspondence from many countries
Gary is a native English speaker, is fluent in French and comfortable in reading and writing several other languages. He is articulate in written communication and careful to use vocabulary that translates easily. Associating with the IAF has made him very conscious of the cultural, religious and language differences among the national delegates. He is careful to ensure that diplomatic conflicts can be avoided by identifying these early on in correspondence or conversations; a great asset to IAF's work. He is a passionate advocate of sustainable use of wildlife and of the ethical treatment of animals, an aspiration he considers to be shared by most falconers and by the majority of hunting people. He believes that wherever possible falconry should be taught by mentoring/apprenticeships over a substantial period of time. Falconry is not easy; it should not be made to appear easy. He is an advocate that, wherever possible a sustainable wild take of native species for the personal use of the hunting falconer is of great value to falconry, to cultural heritage and to conservation.
He believes that IAF should represent and encourage hunting falconers in those jurisdictions where falconry is legal and to encourage those aspiring to make it legal in those jurisdictions where legal status has not yet been achieved. The methods used to do this must vary according to the traditions and legal requirements of each country and so no single country should jeopardize the favourable status of falconry in any other; rather each country should aid the others by drawing on its own experiences and not by forcing its opinions.
“Wherever possible IAF should co-operate with other organizations concerned with falconry, hunting, non-hunting raptor users (breeders, pest controllers etc.), conservation bodies and any other organization so long as we do not compromise the position of falconry as a hunting art. We represent falconers, but at the same time we can work with non-falconers without necessarily representing all of their aims and ideals.”
We welcome Gary to his new post and we look forward to a future where the IAF will have enhanced capacity to perform its true role as the global defence and advocacy organization that Falconry requires and deserves.
Adrian Lombard, IAF President, November 2014.