Abu Dhabi: A total of 65 falcons have been released into the wild this year, as part of the Shaikh Zayed Falcon Release Programme, the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi (EAD) announced on Monday.
The falcons, 57 Peregrine and eight Saker, were released in the Karaganda region of Kazakhstan, and they are among the 1,920 birds released since the programme began in 1995.
In a statement, the Agency announced that there are now indications that the number of falcons in the wild is growing.
This year also marks the 10th falcon release in Kazakhstan, and the EAD statement said that the programme strengthens Abu Dhabi’s efforts to preserve distinctive falcon species and to protect biodiversity.
Kazakhstan is an ideal location to release falcons due to its mountains and plains, which are situated within the falcons’ migration range, and because it is host to the prey essential for falcons to breed and thrive.
The birds are known to fly through Russia, China, Mongolia and other neighbouring countries. Satellite tracking data has also shows that many of the falcons released by the programme in the past have used the Karaganda region in previous years.
Before their release, all 65 falcons underwent a full range of medical exams and intensive training. They were also implanted with microchips.
Additionally, some birds were fitted with solar-powered satellite tracking devices that will allow environmentalists to monitor the birds’ survival, propagation rates and migration routes.
The EAD also encouraged all falconers and wildlife enthusiasts to participate in the release programme by donating their wild falcons to the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital.
There, the birds can be examined, rehabilitated and released, thus supporting wildlife preservation efforts.