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First pair of Saker Falcons arrived in Bulgaria

First pair of Saker Falcons arrived in Bulgaria

24.11.2010

The Saker Falcons are accommodated in the Wildlife Rehabilitation and Breeding Centre at Green Balkans in Stara Zagora and after the quarantine period passes, they will be moved into a special breeding pen. The Rescue Centre will make every effort to successfully breed the pair in order to release the young into the wild. Of course, the offspring of a single pair is not enough, but this is just the beginning of the formation of a captive breeding stock to secure sufficient number of young Saker Falcons for release, so that the species is successfully restored in Bulgaria.

The Saker Falcon is the largest of the ten species found in Bulgaria. Despite being wide-spread in the past, since the mid-XX century the numbers have significantly decreased, especially during the 90s. The last confirmed breeding, which turned out unsuccessful, was reported in 1998. Since then for the past 15 years, only single birds have been observed, mainly outside the breeding season and it is suggested that the species has gone extinct as nesting in Bulgaria.

Among the main reasons for the disappearing of the species are nest robbing and trapping for adults for poacher falconers. The loss of habitats and decrease of its main pray species – the Sousliks, also contribute towards the loss of the Saker. Therefore extra-care and warden has been secured for the pair in the Rescue Centre.

The restoration of the Saker Falcon through reintroduction is a dream of many Bulgarian ornithologists and we are now at the foothill of this long and difficult process. Following the requirements of IUCN, the first stage of the programme for reintroduction of the species was completed in 2009 with the compilation of a Feasibility study for the reintroduction of the Saker Falcon in Bulgaria, which showed that the programme is a necessary step towards the restoration of the species. The Study can be downloaded at:

http://cherrug.org/downloads/Saker%20Falcon%20Reintroduction%20in%20Bulgaria%20-%20Feasibility%20Study.pdf

The second obligatory stage of preparation of the wide-scale reintroduction programme was completed in 2010, including public polls, establishment of partnerships among the interested parties and improvement of the habitats.

The securing of the first pair of the Saker Falcons for the aims of their restoration in Bulgaria is a result of the cooperation among NGOs, scientific institutions and the private sector, which is very rare for our country. This way we are trying to prove the well-known proverb for the eagle, the crab and the pike wrong and lead this noble, but difficult and risky effort to a successful end, restoring the population of the Saker Falcon in Bulgaria for the sake of us and our children.

If you want to learn more for our project and help us to restore the species in Bulgaria, you can contact us at:
Ivailo Klisurov - Wildlife Rescue Centre, Green Balkans; +359 886570052; http://www.greenbalkans-wrbc.org/.
Dimitar Ragyov – IBER, coordinator of the South-Eastern European Saker Network (SESN) and coordinator of the “Research and conservation of the Saker Falcon in Bulgaria” Project; phone: +359 898585553; www.cherrug.org.
Dobromir Domuschiev – Spacia Wildlife Ltd, main partner; phone: +359 878213546, 
 
www.spatiawildlife.com.