The BRC has always been confronted with local (traditional) hunting and falconry in the coastal hills surrounding our monitoring stations. Since shooting raptors is illegal in Georgia and falconry is often practiced without license, the BRC tries to take steps in tackling this problem. However, we believe that conservation, education and socio-economic development should go hand in hand. The BRC therefore tries to increase understanding of the ecological importance of migratory birds among local people, and to create a source of income through ecotourism.
Assessment of hunting pressure on migrating raptors through the Lesser Caucasus
For his master dissertation, Johannes Jansen has investigated the magnitude of the raptor shooting throughout the eastern Black Sea bottleneck in autumn 2011. His survey covered both the Adjara Autonomous republic and the Guria province in Georgia. This project builds on the expertise and data collected during the previous editions of the BRC and was conducted in close cooperation with the Georgian Centre for the Conservation of Wildlife.
Based on geographical features of the landscape and migration patterns, a map of high mortality risk from shooting was be constructed in GIS, and the magnitude of this risk was be examined in the field during September 2011. It included hunter counts, a questionnaire and counting and measuring of casualties. Montagu's harrier, Pallid harrier and Lesser spotted eagle have been selected as species of special interest.
The main goal was to obtain a global image of the impact of raptor shooting on migrating populations and to designate priority areas for conservation.
A peer-reviewed publication is in preparation, but you can already find lots of interesting findings in this interview.
Thanks to the Ornithological Society of the Middle East who has granted 500 GBP to the project 'Assessment of hunting pressure on migrating raptors through the Lesser Caucasus'.