Poachers turned gamekeeper?
September 2013. 2,000 Saker Falcon chicks have hatched in 2013 as a result of an artificial nesting programme in Mongolia. The project, which is run in partnership by the Environment Agency- Abu Dhabi (EAD) and Mongolia's Ministry of Nature, Environment and Tourism, was launched in 2010 with an aim of increasing the wild Saker falcon population.
In 2010, EAD - on behalf of the United Arab Emirates government - signed an agreement with the government of Mongolia with the aim of building 5,000 artificial nests in the Mongolian steppes in a bid to encourage breeding among the species and increase the world's population of Saker falcons. EAD reported that 3,700 chicks have been born since the project was first launched.
Several of the artificial nests placed have been fitted with a camera which records continuously, allowing officials to record the falcons' eating habits and predator threats. This year, the project has also been extended to address the problem of Saker falcons being threatened by power line electrocution - a major cause of falcon mortality in Mongolia and China - which kills almost one falcon each week. Officials took a number of steps to address this issue including adding insulation covers on the power lines.