IAF eBulletin December 2016

Sneem, Ireland 13th-15th November 2016

Over 250 people from 40 countries attended the events, 120 delegates, observers and members of the advisory committee sat at the table and in the meeting room itself. 

The spectacular venue for this meeting was the Sneem Hotel, Co. Kerry, nestling in glorious Autumn colours between the mountains and the sea. Our hosts, the Irish Hawking Club (originally established in 1870 and an IAF member since 1969) put on some spectacular hunting alongside a very serious and well organized meeting.


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Report on 47th IAF Council of Delegates Meeting

The Council of Delegates Meeting is the main annual meeting at which most of the IAF's business is either done or endorsed by the Council of Delegates. Delegates and Club Representatives will receive the official minutes of the meeting by separate email; this eBulletin outlines the highlights.

New members admitted were:

  • Bahrain: Bahrain Raptor Rehab (Supporting Member )
  • Greece: Hellenic Falconers' Club (Member)
  • Malta: Maltese Falconry Club (Member)
  • Morocco: Association Fauconnier Uled Fraj el Jadeeda (Member) 
  • United Kingdom: Yorkshire Hawking Club (Member)
  • Saudi Arabia: Avian Research Centre King Faisal University (Supporting Member )
  • Serbia: 

In accordance with the IAF Constitution all of these organizations were subject to examination and were duly elected by Council. The Association Marocaine de Chasse au Vol and the UK Female Falconers' Club have not yet existed long enough to apply for membership and were both granted observer status. This brings the total number of countries represented in IAF to 86, putting it among the largest International Conservation NGO's in the world.

The 2017 Council Meeting will be held in September in Kyrghysztan, date to be advised. The 2018 Meeting is agreed for Bavaria . For 2019 proposals have been received from Pakistan and from Spain and for 2020 from NAFA. 

The Election of the IAF Vice-president for the Americas

Ralph Rogers completes on 31st December this year, his second and final full term of office. An election was held for his successor, by secret ballot and in accordance with the rules and protocols in the IAF Constitution. The two candidates were Mike Dupuy, proposed by the American Falconry Conservancy, and Dan Cecchini, proposed by the North American Falconers' Association. Dan Cecchini was duly elected and will begin his first term of office as VP for the Americas on January 1st 2017.  We are fortunate to have two such talented individuals running for office within our organization.


The new IAF International Journal of Falconry 2016 is ready!

Please buy your own copy now!



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11th Intergovernmental Meeting of the UNESCO ICH

The eleventh session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage took place in the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa Conference Centre in Addis Ababa, from 28 November to 2 December 2016. IAF attended as an Accredited Advisory NGO to the UNESCO. IAF is working closely with the NGO Forum which assists the Intergovernmental Committee.

Hard work by the falconers and governments of Portugal, Italy, Kazakhstan, Pakistan and Germany has paid off and these five countries now bring the total of countries on the list for this element, "Falconry, a living human heritage" to eighteen. The complete file may be seen on the UNESCO ICH site, decision10.b.15.

Countries wishing to add their falconry to the list must first ratify the Convention and the latest to do so are:  Cabo Verde, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Ireland, Kuwait, Marshall Islands and Saint Kitts and Nevis. They must then have the element placed on the national lists, the hardest part. Finally, permission must be obtained from the existing countries who will also help in preparing the dossier. Queries on the process may be directed to Dr. Bohumil Straka, straka@iaf.org 

The importance of being on the ICH list cannot be overemphasized: governments that list an element are obliged to preserve it, including putting aside funding for that purpose. This is worth repeating in another way: not only are governments not allowed to attack the element, they have to ensure it is not damaged by other entities. This means the falconers are not alone in defending falconry, their governments must help them.

The Republic of Korea will host the next meeting in December 2017.

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.

Presdential Awards

World Falconry Day was celebrated by the presentation of Presidential Awards to recognise the incredible efforts which have resulted in restoration of the Peregrine falconand other species by falconers.  Recognizing their work which led the efforts of falconers to restore the peregrine falcon, IAF President Dr. Adrian Lombard presented the IAF Presidential Award to Professors Tom Cade, Christian Saar and Carl Jones.  These are three of the foremost raptor conservationists  in the world and all of these conservation icons are falconers.

In his speech President Lombard celebrated the return of the peregrine falcon, pointing out that there are now more peregrines in the world than ever in their history, thanks to the work of falconer conservationists present in the room.

Professor Cade's research and captive breeding and release efforts in the United States kick started the Peregrine Fund, now the largest raptor conservation organization in the world. Professor Saar's work in Europe inspired many others and was fundamental in restoring populations in that continent.

Professor Carl Jones, winner of this year's Indianapolis  Prize (the “Nobel prize” of conservation) was unable to attend the ceremony in person. Professor Jones is best known for his work in recovering the Mauritius kestrel (Falco punctatus) from just four individuals in 1974, to an estimated 400. He has also led therestoration of the Mauritius pink pigeon, Mauritius parakeet, Mauritius olive white-eye, Rodrigues fody and the Rodrigues flying fox.

The IAF is proud to number these three conservationists among the ranks of falconers.

This will be held on 04 , 05, 06 and 07 May 2017, at Formiga - MG , aiming to unite the falconers of Latin America and the world to disseminate and raise the art of Falconry . Click the picture for a link to the website.

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International Association for Falconry and Conservation of Birds of Prey