Contents of the latest issue of Raptors Conservation indicate the journal continues to be a leader in presenting information essential for conserving species across the vast area of the Russian Republic.
The current issue is the fifteenth issued in a five-year period.
"As we celebrate the five years of our magazine," agreed editors Elvira Nikolenko (Siberian Environmental Center, Novosibirsk) and Igor Karyakin (Center of Field Studies, N. Novgorod), "we hope that the information we publish will be interesting and useful for many people, and that it will stimulate ornithologists to study and protect birds of prey.
Highlights in this issue include:
- "Trade in Raptors in Russia – Growth Continues"; details are given on the illegal trade in live raptors including rare and listed species, as well as stuffed birds. The article concludes: "in Russia and Ukraine falconry is developing actively, and that the number of club and private farms, where hunting birds are bred and farmed, is growing. Proprietors of these farms are artificially raising interest in the birds to secure their demand."
- "Vultures of the Altai-Sayan Region". This article especially discusses the status of the Lammergeier (Gypaetus barbatus) and Black Vulture (Aegypius monachus) in this region which "is located in the territories of Russia, Mongolia, Kazakhstan and China," according to internet information. "It encompasses mountain pristine forest ecosystems, surrounded by steppes in the north and east, and by deserts and semi-deserts in the south and west. The region includes the Altai and Sayan mountain systems and vast intermountain depressions. This region is one of the world centers of plant diversity."
- Surveys conducted during 1999-2008 by Igor V. Karyakin, L.I. Konovalov (Bird Watching Center, Limassol, Cyprus), M.A. Grabovskiy, (Airport Tolmachevo, Novosibirsk,Russia) and E.G. Nikolenko (Siberian Environmental Center, Novosibirsk, Russia), indicate a steady population of the Lammergier in the study area of . The numbers of Black Vultures showed a decline. Pictures with the text vividly show the species and their habitats, including nesting sites, with distributions maps given that show geographic range.
Lammergeier on a perch near the nest. Photo by I. Karyakin.
Igor Karyakin on a nest of the Black Vulture in the Kargy river valley. Photo by E. Nikolenko. All photographs courtesy of Raptors Conservation, and used with permission.
- Results of surveys from 200-2008 for the Imperial Eagle (Aquila heliacal), also in the mountainous part of Altai in the Altai Kray. Information is predominantly about breeding, and nesting success of the species.
- "Records of Raptors of the Talduair Mountains, Important Birding Area in the South-Eastern Altai, Russia". Species noted were the Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), Steppe Eagle (Aquila nipalensis), Imperial Eagle (Aquila heliaca), Upland Buzzard (Buteo hemilasius), Black-Eared Kite (Milvus migrans lineatus), Himalayan Vulture (Gyps himalayensis), Black Vulture (Aegypius monachus), Lammergeier (Gypaetus barbatus), Saker Falcon (Falco cherrug), Common Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus), and Eagle Owl (Bubo bubo). Information is based on a survey done in June 2008 at the diverse landscape illustrated with several pictures.
A number of short notes have some details of observations of dramatic breeding occurrences, sightings of rare species. Notable is one by Andrey Semenov gives details of a 3500 float-trip along the Lena River, and 600 km along the southern shore of the Laptev Sea noting what raptor species were seen where, and how many. Also needing a close reading, is "Records of 'White-shouldered' Imperial Eagles in Russia and Kazakhstan" by I.V. Karyakin and A.V. Kovalenko (Institute of Zoology, Ministry of Education and Sciences, Almaty, Kazakhstan).
Details on important meetings are also included.
Raptors Conservation "is a journalistic nature conservation publication," according to the editors, "a bulletin informing about the main events and findings in the sphere of raptor study and protection, and a scientific journal, in which results from newest research are published. All these functions contribute necessary information to the timely and accurate coordination of nature conservation activities."
Sponsors of this issue include the World Wildlife Fund for Nature WWF – Russia and Project UNDP/GEF ‘Conservation of Biodiversity in the Altai-Sayan Ecoregion’, and a number of personal contributors, from around the world.
Volume 15 was issued in mid-March, and a full-color, bilingual version is available from the Siberian Environmental Center. The journal has the full details essential to realize and appreciate the ongoing efforts underway to understand and conserve the variety of raptor species occurring in the areas where the studies occurred. Read the issue and then send them some funds to support their effort.
Typical landscape of the Talduair Mountains and Western slope of Chihacheva Mountains: Bar-Burgazy river valley. Photo by I. Smelansky.
Buguzun river valley. Photo by A. Barashkova.