Abu Dhabi: Abu Dhabi’s efforts to conserve falcons have been boosted by the release of 65 wild falcons in Kazakhstan.
Once a common sight in many parts of Kazakhstan, the birds are under increasing pressure from a host of human and environmental factors. Representatives from the two countries have been working together to combat the pressure on Kazakhstan’s resident falcons and to conserve the species.
This cooperation culminated in the latest release of falcons by the UAE’s Shaikh Zayed Falcon Release Programme (SZFRP) and Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Environment and Water Resources.
Announcing the release of the falcons, Mohammad Al Bawardi, Managing Director of the Environment Agency — Abu Dhabi (EAD), said, on behalf of SZRFP: “Under the direction of the UAE’s leadership, Abu Dhabi has been at the forefront of conservation in many areas. Nowhere is this more clearly demonstrated than in our efforts to conserve the falcon, a bird of cultural and historic significance for many and an important symbol for the peoples of Abu Dhabi and Kazakhstan. By working together in international partnership, we increase the chances for the species in the wild.”
The falcons (40 Peregrine and 28 Saker) were rescued or donated and rehabilitated at EAD’s Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital and, subsequently, released by SZFRP, under the guidance and coordination of the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources of Kazakhstan, after careful analysis of potential release sites.
Kazakhstan’s geographic position within the species migration range (a wide area including parts of Russia, China, and Mongolia and neighbouring countries) and topology of both rugged mountains and wide plains make Kazakhstan an ideal habitat and release site for falcons.
To help guide planned future releases in Kazakhstan and elsewhere, 12 of the falcons were fitted with satellite tracking devices that enable to monitor their flight paths and collect the scientific data. The data from this cutting-edge technology helps guide SZFRP’s breeding programme and improve the long-term survivability of falcons in Kazakhstan and within other range nations.
Established by Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan in 1995, the SZFRP has released more than 1,800 falcons in range nations (including Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan) since its inception. A leader in falcon conservation, Abu Dhabi created the world’s first hospital dedicated to falcons and has actively encouraged falconry using captive-bred birds. Further, the Emirate has introduced a strict licensing system for the trading of all falcons in the UAE and, in a move widely approved by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Flora and Fauna (CITES), introduced a falcon passport to track and monitor captive falcons resident in the UAE.