An International Conference on the Conservation of the Saker falcon will take place on Thursday 7th September in Cholpon-Ata, Kyrgyzstan.

It will take place alongside the 48th Annual IAF Council of Delegates Meeting, and IAF delegates are warmly encouraged to attend. The venue is the Ruh Ordo Cultural Centre in Cholpon-Ata.

The conference will build on the work and outcomes of two previous conferences, held in Abu Dhabi: ‘The Future of Falconry in the MENA Region’ (October 2016) and ‘Combating Illegal Trade in Falcons in the Middle East and North Africa’ (April 2017).

The aim of this conference is to advance Saker falcon (Falco cherrug) conservation and specifically address the issues of illegal trade and sustainable legal trade.

Meetings Agenda:

08:00 – Coffee and Registration.

08:30 –  Adrian Lombard, President, IAF: Welcome from the IAF and introduction of conference delegates.

08:45 – Piet Wit, Chair during 2008-16 of Commission on Ecosystem Management of IUCN: Key Note Presentation. 

09:30 – Andrew Dixon, Research Biologist, Emirates Falconers’ Club: ‘Threats and challenges to the Saker falcon. An overview of conservation measures’.

10: 15 – Tea Break

10:40 – HE Majed al Mansouri, Vice-president for Middle East and North Africa Region, IAF:  ‘The significance of the Saker Falcon within the MENA Region – A Strategy for Regional Conservation and Combatting Illegal Trafficking’.

11:10 – Janusz Sielicki, Vice-president for Europe, Oceania & Africa South of the Sahara, IAF: ‘Sustainable Use – tools and management’. 

11:40 – Robert Kenward, Chair, the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Thematic Group for Sustainable Use and Management of Ecosystems (SULi): ‘Measuring populations and managing harvests: Sakernet II’. 

12:20 – Mátyás Prommer, Raptor Expert, Herman Ottó Institute Nonprofit Ltd.: ‘Preliminary results of satellite tracking Saker in South Russia and Mongolia & Proposal for Continuation’.

Possible time for discussion.

13:00 Lunch 

14:00 – Welcome by the Conference Chair. 

14:10 – Nick Williams, of CMS Raptors MoU: ‘Future Plans for Implementation of the Saker Global Action Plan’. 

14:40 – Andrew Dixon, Research Biologist, Emirates Falconers’ Club: ‘Saker projects on the Tibetan Plateau’. 

14:50 – Kamran Khan Yousafzai, Officer for South Asia, IAF: ‘Community involvement in Raptor Harvests’. 

15:10 – Baoyong Zhang, State representative and secretary-general, China Tian Dao Falconry Association: ‘Saker conservation in China’. 

15:30 – Presentations on Saker conservation in Mongolia

  • Nyambayar Batbayar, Director, Wildlife Science and Conservation Center of Mongolia. 
  • Gankhuyag Purev-Ochir, Director, Mongolian Bird Conservation Center. 

16: 00 – Tea Break 

16:20 – Open discussion with Moderator.

17:00 – Election of a Committee to formulate a Statement on outcomes of the meeting.

20:00  – Meeting of the Committee to prepare the conference statement.

Conference aims:

This conference will be a unique opportunity to bring together important stakeholders from across the saker range including the Gulf States, Central Asia, Pakistan, and China, falconers, scientists, and researchers, to agree on the next steps for saving the Saker.

The IAF believes it is especially important to involve local communities, especially when it comes to illegal trade. We also believe that it is important to find ways to replace unsustainable illegal trade with a sustainable legal harvest of this species. 

Such legal harvest is important for Saker conservation and would also benefit local communities financially and culturally.

Conference background:

Saker falcon (Falco cherrug) has undergone a significant population decline in the past 20 years largely due to electrocution, habitat degradation, and illegal trade. 

The IAF is committed to conserving the Saker through the implementation of the Saker Global Action Plan (Saker GAP) of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS). 

The IAF has already contributed meaningfully to the Saker GAP with several projects:

1. The Sakernet web portal to enhance trust and communication with various users of the saker:;

2. Saker habitat management and education programmes in Mongolia through an Artificial Nest Project and School Links Programme:;

3. Supporting scientific research by financing satellite tags to monitor saker population migration and to help combat illegal trade;

4. Standing as a proponent of a Motion at the 12th World Congress of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to address the critical issue of electrocution;

5. Taking part in two strategic meetings for falconers from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Region examining the requirements of falconers and the issue of illegal trafficking and killing of raptors, organised by the IAF Vice-President for the MENA Region, H.E. Majed Ali Al Mansouri.

The IAF also recognises that while illegal trade is a significant threat to the survival of some populations of this species, the saker is of real cultural significance to many people including those who practise the UNESCO-recognised ancient art of falconry.

To register for the conference, please get in touch For information on accommodation and travel, please proceed to this page


Cholpon-Ata Programme Practical Information