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Премия рунета 2017

Altai Saker falcon chicks hatched in captivity will be raised in the nests of the pairs of wild Saker falcons

09 june 2020
WWF Russia starts a new phase of the unique Altai saker falcon restoration project in Southern Siberia.

Novosibirsk city in Siberia welcomed some unusual visitors on the 6th of June. Four chicks of saker falcons flew in a warm cargo plane from Moscow Vitasphera rare bird’s nursery to Siberia. Ornithologists met the birds at the airport, fed and calmed them down. The first flight of the chicks went well.  Next day the birds took off to their new place of living in the wild in some regions of Southern Siberia. The experts do not name the exact site not to attract the attention of the poachers. All the chicks will be placed into the nests of the wild pairs of saker falcon who hatched their chicks this season. The adoptive parents will raise and feed the fosters as if they were their native. This way the birds from captivity will fully adapt to living in the wild, learn to hunt and add up to the population Altai Saker falcon, an extremely rare dark-brown morph (colouring) of Saker falcon.

The birds arrived to Novosibirsk
(c) Larisa Buyantueva
These chicks are the participants of the unique project of WWF Russia, Russian Raptor Conservation Centre and World Around You foundation of Siberian Wellness corporation on restoration of Altai saker falcons in Altai-Sayan ecoregion.
“The project is unique as it was possible only with the help of the Busines-partners of Siberian Wellness corporation, those who donate to our conservation projects and support good deeds of our company. We are honored to work with professional conservationists and be a part of big thing”, says Larisa Buyantuevs, the Project Coordinator of World Around You Foundation of Siberian Wellness.
Volonteers of World Around You pick up the birds from the nursery and bring them to airport
(c) World Around You
“The birds have a specific dark-brown morph (coloring), they belong to so-called Altai morph which as extremely rare among saker falcons. The birds of this type have been almost totally caught out by poachers because the beautiful birds of prey are valuable for Arabian falconers. Despite the fact that hunting, purchase and selling of wild falcons, transporting of saker falcons are forbidden in Russia, poaching is flourishing and threatens the rare birds. The nests of wild saker falcons that we will place the captive chicks have been carefully chosen before. We will also put cameras on nests to monitor the birds’ behavior however our experience prove that wild birds do not distinguish between “foster” chicks and native ones. Each bird will receive a GSM-tracker and we will track their migration routes to better estimate their behavior and threat”, says Elvira Nikolenko, Director of Siberian environmental centre Ltd.
One of the chicks near the nest he will be placed into.
(c) Elena Shnaider

Russian Raptor Research and Conservation Network claim that the number of Saker falcons in Russia has decreased by 20 % from 2008 to 2018. The species is disappearing and the habitat is shrinking. Poaching is the main reason for that. Altai Saker falcon of the attractive dark morph had the least luck. They have been caught first because of its attractive look and sold to Arab hunters.  That is why Altai Saker falcon was chosen for the restoration project by WWF, World Around You Foundation of Siberian Wellness and Russian Raptor Research and Conservation Network.

Freed to be Wild | RT Documentary

In 2018 Russian Raptor Research and Conservation Network supported by WWF implemented Saker falcon census in Russian part of Altai-Sayan Ecoregion. They counted 1138 (1083–1186) breeding pairs in Russia. The number of breeding pairs has decrease by 43 % for the last 20 years.

From 2017 to 2019 within the frames of Saker falcon restoration project the ornithologists placed 48 chicks raised and hatched in nurseries. The vitality of chicks from captivity was comparable of one of native chicks, wich proves the successful methodology applied by scientists:the birds successfully grow up and adapt to living in the wild. The project is long-term and when the falcons will come back to the sites where they grew up and hatch their own chicks they will add to the population.   

 

For additional information please contact
Altai-Sayan ecoregional press-officer
Senior Project Coordinator