SUME: Cholpon Ata, Kyrgyzstan

Eleven participants gathered to discuss SUME development in the small town of Cholpon Ata on the shores of Lake Issyk Kul in Kyrgyzstan. This first meeting since WCC6 was kindly hosted on 7 September 2017 by the International Association for Falconry and Conservation of Birds of Prey (IAF), a long-standing IUCN member with affiliates in 89 countries.   


On the same day, there was a conference on the Saker Falcon, at which previous CEM Chair Piet Wit gave the keynote talk. Among many lessons from his life, he presented the Ecosystem Approach and explained how it is relevant to falconry in landscapes across the world.


Falconry originated in the steppes of Central Asia, maybe 4,000 years ago and by hunting with Golden Eagles (like this young man). Nowadays, eagles and Saker Falcons on the open steppes have to be careful not to perch on medium-voltage power-lines, which kill thousands of these avian top predators of semi-arid ecosystems. This reduces predation pressure on species like Brandt’s vole, which can become common enough to be damaging to agriculture as well as over-grazed native vegetation. To make matters worse, rodenticides used to fight voles can kill even more raptors.


Intensification of steppe agriculture is also worrying for the future of Sakers. However, the Saker Falcon is a valuable resource for falconers in the Middle East, who are therefore funding restoration work, both by modifying power lines to make them raptor-safe, and also by creating new breeding areas (which are in short supply) by installing artificial nest boxes. n 2015, European Sustainable Use Group worked for SUME and the specialist group on Sustainable Use and Livelihoods (run jointly by IUCN Species Survival Commission and Commission on Environmental Economic and Social Policy) to help IAF and Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) develop Sakernet, a multilingual network to raise awareness of these issues, especially among falconers.






The record of SUME’s meeting discusses development of the group. See also the following meeting, in Lima (26-7 September 2017) (and prepare for Croatia on 11-12 April 2018), for more information on how and why we are continuing to initiate networking projects (such as the European Perdixnet launched this summer), with training for running the key national nodal web-sites. 




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