Falconry is one of oldest human activities, goes back thousands of years. It is defined as ‘taking quarry in its natural state and habitat by means of trained birds of prey’. It was for centuries using wild birds of prey. Falconry is sustainable, as the numbers of birds used are small comparing to the natural mortality rates. Protection of nests of birds of prey were amongst the oldest conservation laws in Europe. Falconry techniques are widely used in conservation and rehabilitation of birds of prey. They have proved through millennia to be effective in taming birds and to keep them healthy and in good condition. Falconers were the first to notice the decline of Peregrine numbers in Britain and in other countries. They also started the studies to unveil the reasons for this decline. As a result DDT was banned and birds of prey populations started to grow. Falconers learned how to intensively breed Peregrines, the methods used later for many other birds of prey species. Large projects for the breeding and reintroduction of Peregrines were started by falconers in the USA, Canada, Germany, later also in Poland. Falconry techniques were used even in the countries where falconry was not practiced, like Sweden. Reintroduction was the only way to recover Peregrines in areas where they we extinct. Falconers in the USA organised a largest birds of prey protection organisation in the world – The Peregrine Fund. Large crisis in vultures of Asia was also unveiled in 2004 thanks to projects financed by TPF. The reason for the catastrophic decline of vulture populations was diclofenac. Its e)ect was disorder of the kidneys and rapid death, effecting in decline of even 99% by 2008. Falconers are working to restore vulture populations by breeding and reintroduction projects. Currently we see a large decline in Saker Falcon in Asia. Large studies undertaken in Mongolia by falconers have proved that at least 5 thousand Sakers are killed annually by electrocution on mid-voltage lines. Falconers involved in conservation of huntable species. One of first large scale programmes by falconers was the establishing of the North American Grouse Partnership in 1999. The aim of this organisation is the protection of the habitats of the North American grouse species and their sustainable use. The latest initiative of IAF is a Perdix portal, aimed at conservation of habitats of European partidge, sharing knowledge on their management and best cases of sustainable use. Falconry is inscribed on UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Falconry today is not only hunting, but also conservation, culture and education.
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