28 March 2024

Great Bustard Exploring Kalmykia’s Steppe

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Ecology of the Russian Federation, VNII Ecologia, the Government of the Republic of Kalmykia, the Roscongress Foundation and Kamchatka Falcon Centre, with the participation of experts and foundations from the Gulf countries, continue to work on the implementation of the order of the President of the Russian Federation and the comprehensive action plan for the establishment of Russian centres for the reintroduction and conservation of falconiform birds in Kamchatka Territory and bustards in the Republic of Kalmykia.

The importance of these efforts was emphasized by the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin in his Address to the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation in 2024. He noted that the work to protect natural reserves, save and restore rare and endangered species of plants and animals should be continued at all levels, including support for civil environmental initiatives.

“A large-scale programme to create a network of ornithological centres, launched on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum in 2019, is developing and forming the basis for international scientific and cultural cooperation. Conservation of the population of red-listed birds of the falcon and bustard families is becoming one of the most important global conservation initiatives, which finds great support from Russia’s partners,” noted Anton Kobyakov, Adviser to the President of the Russian Federation. An important milestone of the Falcon Day International Forum held on the sidelines of EEF 2023 was the signing of the Framework Declaration on the Conservation of the Gyrfalcon Population. Currently, six countries have joined the document initiated by Russia: China, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, the UAE, and the Kingdom of Bahrain.

For example, as part of the work, a joint project to build Kamchatka Falcon Centre was implemented as early as 2022 to replenish the population of birds of prey of the falcon family in the Russian Federation. Starting from 2021, systematic work has been underway to build the Centre for the Reintroduction and Conservation of Bustard Birds in the Republic of Kalmykia. Employees of VNII Ecologia conducted ornithological expeditions and monitoring, which helped to study the forage base, botanical composition and food diversity, to clarify the suitability of certain areas, temperature regime and much more in order to determine the places for the forthcoming release of birds into the wilderness.

In September 2023, at the 8th Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, the previously reached agreement on the gratuitous transfer of birds bred at the Emirates Breeding Centre for Birds for Conservation of the Republic of Uzbekistan to the Russian Federation was confirmed. In November, a trial batch of 20 red-breasted bustards was released in the steppes of the Yashkul District of Kalmykia. The positive experience of cooperation allowed us to talk about additional releases of birds in the region, which are planned for April and August 2024.

Further work on the implementation of the Action Plan for the establishment of reintroduction and conservation centres for birds of the falcon and bustard families in Russia will continue within the framework of the annual Falcon Day International Forum, which will be held on the starting day of the 9th Eastern Economic Forum in September 2024 in Vladivostok, as well as on the sidelines of other events of the Roscongress Foundation.


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