International Conference: the Stewardship of Biodiversity and Sustainable Use
The International Conference on the ‘Stewardship of Biodiversity and Sustainable Use’ was held in Moyvalley, Co. Kildare, following on from the IAF meetings in Sneem It was organised by the Irish Hawking Club and the IAF as an important international discussion and review on the subject of ‘Wild Take’ and ‘Sustainable Use’ of Raptors for the purpose of Falconry.
Historically, falconers relied exclusively on wild-harvested raptors until the collapse in raptor populations in the 1960’s due to the widespread use of pesticides. This collapse became the catalyst for falconers to employ new techniques to develop and expand captive breeding programmes for the purpose of conservation and reintroduction and to ensure the practice of falconry is maintained and preserved for future generations.
Today, the vast majority of falconers’ birds are sourced through commercial captive breeding centres, however, the practice of a wild harvest remains an important consideration for a variety of reasons. For many falconers, the knowledge and skill-set required to locate and source a bird of prey from its natural habitat remains an integral element to the art, as well as producing unique genetic variation through natural selection, which cannot be satisfied through captive breeding.
Among other topics, this conference explored the subject through international perspectives with regard to the principles of judicious use and sustainability. The subject of ‘Stakeholder Stewardship’ was discussed with international examples of how falconers are engaged in conservation and the management of wildlife and habitats.
Supported by an exceptional line-up of international guest speakers with strong credentials in Raptor Biology, Raptor Monitoring, Conservation Management and Science, the Conference Programme focused on key themes:
Session 1: Setting the Scene
Session 2: Falconers in Conservation
Session 3: Convention, Theory and Science
Session 4: The Future
The Conference relied heavily on research, facts and science and a document on the subject of the presentations will be published to compliment, support and record the occasion.
There were also presentations by the Irish Grey Partridge Conservation Trust and the Irish Red Grouse Conservation Trust over the course of the 2 days.