• The Fund’s efforts have helped save 18,000 raptors by retrofitting 27,000 dangerous power poles in the Mongolia steppes
• Their pioneering project in Bulgaria aims to restore a self-sustaining Saker Falcon breeding population whilst ensuring connectivity between threatened Saker Falcon populations in Asia and Europe
Abu Dhabi, UAE – 1 September 2023: The Mohamed bin Zayed Raptor Conservation Fund is participating in the Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition, scheduled to take place at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Center from 2 – 8 September 2023.
During this event, the Fund will highlight its impactful global initiatives in Mongolia and Bulgaria. These initiatives are guided by a philosophy that emphasizes the promotion of development without compromising wildlife, and highlight the possibility of designing or modifying essential utilities, such as electricity, in ways that are safe for raptors.
At its pavilion within the exhibition, the Fund will showcase the successful efforts in Mongolia to prevent raptor electrocutions using the endangered Saker Falcon as an umbrella species for conservation. The primary objective is to spotlight the significant impact of the campaign and the outcomes it has achieved, serving as an inspiration for visitors, guests, and exhibitors from diverse backgrounds. As the global demand for energy increases, the need to ensure nature positive investments has never been greater. Many regions around the world are home to large populations of raptors and these regions are rapidly expanding their networks of power lines and infrastructure to facilitate societal growth and attain economic and social development goals.
Environmentally Friendly Solutions for Economic and Social Development:
The international projects undertaken by the Fund for the conservation of raptor birds are focused on addressing a pressing issue—the electrocution of millions of birds each year on low-voltage electricity distribution lines. These incidents not only result in the loss of a substantial number of birds, but also lead to power disruptions, equipment damage, and the potential risk of fires, as well as substantial financial losses and environmental harm.
Since 2019, the Fund has insulated 27,000 poles, rendering them safe for raptors and other large birds throughout the Mongolia steppes. This Abu Dhabi-led initiative is the largest single line electrocution mitigation effort across the globe that has helped save approximately 18,000 raptors (including 4000 Saker Falcons) annually from being electrocuted. To underscore the success of this initiative in mitigating electrocution in Mongolia – and to demonstrate its potential as a blueprint for other nations – the Fund will share a short video clip at its pavilion during the Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition.
Removing Genetic Barriers to Preserve Saker Falcons:
The Fund's pavilion will also display its collaborative project with their partner Green Balkans in Bulgaria. Our focus there is to use captive breeding and relase of Saker Falcons to establish a self-sustaining breeding population to ensure genetic connectivity between populations in Central and Eastern Europe, Turkey, and Central Asia.
It's essential to note that various human-induced threats led to the long-term decline and regional extinction of the Saker Falcon in the southern Balkans by the end of the 20th century. These threats included habitat loss, hunting, electrocution, and poisoning. What was once a thriving, interconnected population of Saker Falcons spanning from Central Europe to Asia has become fragmented, especially in the Western regions. Here, there are three isolated and significantly reduced populations in Central Europe, Eastern Europe, and Turkey.
Bulgaria, situated in the southern Balkans, serves as an ideal location to bridge these fragmented groups, facilitating gene flow and reducing the risk of regional extinction in an ever-changing environment.
Comprehensive Treatments and Capacity Development:
The Fund proudly shares its achievements of the endeavours in effectively addressing the threat of electrocution in Mongolia with the visitors and attendees of the Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition. The next step involves building upon the success in Mongolia, using this project as a guiding model. The aim is to advocate for safe standards in power line construction that consider the well-being of birds, and we seek to attract the attention of potential donors and stakeholders to address the issue of electrocution on a global scale.
The Fund hopes its efforts will inspire representatives from various countries, authorities, falconers, and community members to collaborate in implementing ambitious conservation plans along the migration and breeding routes of raptor birds. Electrocution poses a significant threat, in addition to environmental degradation and adverse impacts on wildlife species. Mohamed Bin Zayed Raptor Conservation Fund remains committed to its ongoing work in Mongolia and Bulgaria. Furthermore, the Fund is actively partnering with organizations worldwide to develop new projects aimed at conserving raptor bird populations and achieving comprehensive strategic outcomes for their protection. This effort also focuses on enhancing local capacities in raptor birds research and preservation techniques.