Conservation status of saker falcon in the IUCN Red List is lowered | №31 winter 2011 | Steppe Bulletin 
ISSN 1726-2860
(print version ISSN 1684-8438)


№31 winter 2011

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Protection of species of special concern

Conservation status of saker falcon in the IUCN Red List is lowered

Igor Karyakin (Siberian Environmental Center, Novosibirsk)

In the latest edition of the IUCN Red Data List (IUCN, 2010), the conservation status of the saker falcon was lowered from Endangered (EN) to Vulnerable (VU).

Most falcon specialists believe that the reasoning behind this was political rather than an improvement in the situation, especially considering that the total number of all large saker falcon populations in Kazakhstan and Russia continues to decline. The main cause of such a decline is the illegal capture and export of the species to Gulf states.  

The high IUCN conservation status did not, however, have much effect on the funding of saker falcon conservation in Russia. It is therefore proposed to accept the change and to plan conservation activity based on its new conservation status (VU). In addition, listing the species in Appendix 1 of CITES (the issue that was discussed when the saker falcon had a higher conservation status) would not reduce the pressure on wild populations, but would likely increase it. 

Conserving saker falcon populations in Russia requires a reduction in the impact of all negative factors and starting rehabilitation programs in at least those regions where the species still nests. 

A list of recommended administrative, legal and conservation activities needed for saving the saker falcon in Russia is given.

Key words

Saker falcon (Falco cherrug), vulnerable species, endangered, IUCN Red List, conservation status, threatened species, falconry, CITES, indicator species, legal protection, Russia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia

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Siberian Environmental Center
Biodiversity Conservation Center
UNDP/GEF Steppe Project in Russia
Association for the Conservation of Biodiversity of Kazakhstan
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