Saker Falcon reintroduction in Bulgaria.
Spatia Wildlife has donated the money for purchasing the first captive breeding pair.
The Saker Falcon pair in the quarantine enclosure after their arrival from Germany. The pair now occupies large, purposefully build aviary.
The Saker Falcon, this beautiful, powerful and elegant raptor unfortunately no longer breeds in Bulgaria since the last successful breeding here was recorded back in 1997! Since then there are only single birds recorded, mainly during the winter and migration periods. Main reason for this disaster was the nest robbery by poachers (claiming themselves falconers), followed by habitat loss and Suslick population decrease.
Nearly 10 years ago, when I was 100 % involved in the raptor conservation I was the first person to say that reintroduction is what we need if we want to have the Saker back among the breeding birds in Bulgaria.
During the last 4 years comprehensive viability study was implemented (under the IUCN criteria) that showed the reintroduction can be successful if done in a proper way. The project leader Mr. Dimitar Ragyov, is the main motor behind the Saker Falcon restoration in Bulgaria during the last 5 years.
Now, the time has come! For real, field activities, that will bring the mighty Saker back in the Bulgarian nature. Last November (2010) we went to Germany where we have bought a pair of Saker Falcons that gave the start of the captive population which will provide young falcons to be released in the wild. The birds are now held in the Wildlife Rehabilitation and Breeding Center in Stara Zagora run by the biggest NGO in Bulgaria, Green Balkans. The falcons were bough with funds donated by Spatia Wildlife and the biggest share of that was the money you have left us at the end of your holiday with us, plus some more, from the company’s profit, so again our clients’ money. The total cost was about 1,500 Euro.
Special acknowledgments to all of you that have contributed to this.
Soon after, a second pair was purchased with funds secured from Mr. Ragyov’s employees IBER (Institute for Biological and Environmental Research), so now we have 2 pairs which we hope will start reproduce form next year on.
A couple of days ago, on 24 May 2011, 5 young (about 3 weeks old) Saker chicks were bough and transported from Germany to Bulgaria and were immediately placed in the hacking cage. This cage is a specially designed for the Saker reintroduction, on a former breeding cliff near to the Central Balkan National Park. After about 20 days we expect the birds to fledge naturally and they will be carefully monitored from expert volunteers and project staff. Every bird is fitted with satellite transmitter.
We will also be there and if you are interested in the reintroduction progress, please keep an eye on the news section of our website.
More info on the reintroduction project and Saker Falcon research and conservation you can find on www.cherrug.org
More about the work on the Wildlife Rehabilitation and Breeding Center (where the Sakers are kept) you can find here http://www.greenbalkans-wrbc.org/index.php?language=en_EN&cat_id=2