Madár (Birdy) released recovered Saker Falcon

'Madár', Zsolt Erdei world champion boxer released the recovered Saker Falcon that had been found more than a month ago, near Tisza Lake, Hungary.

In May 2013, a weakened Saker Falcon was found by the colleagues of Bükk National Park Directorate, near Tisza Lake. With the assistance of MME/BirdLife Hungary, the falcon was taken to Budapest Zoo for health check and treatment.

The adult male Saker Falcon was ringed this spring near Csákvár, where he later started to breed. He was a member of a pair controlled by Pro Vértes Public Foundation in the frame of the Saker conservation LIFE programme. The breeding failed due to the bad weather and lack of food, and this bird started to move around to find proper food sources, as other satellite tracked males did it, as well. This is how he reached the River Tisza. The reason, why he got weakened is not known. As itwas found by the doctors of Budapest Zoo, he did not have any injury, however poisoning could not be excluded, especially that bird was found in the region most affected by direct poisoning of birds of prey.

The Saker Falcon is strictly protected species, its conservation value by the Hungarian law is 1.000.000 HUF – this is the fine one must pay, beside facing other sentences too, if he or she wounds or kills a Saker Falcon. Sadly, satellite tracking activities in the Saker – and from last year the Imperial Eagle – conservation programmes have already revealed several such cases: a number of tracked birds have already been found shot or poisoned.

The international Saker conservation programme supported by the European Union, managed by Bükk National Park Directorate and implemented by several organisations, has special importance. The global population of this typical steppe species does not reach 20.000 pairs and it is decreasing continuously. A bit more than 200 pairs breed in Hungary, but yet it is the EU's strongest and Europe's second largest population, following the slightly larger, but apparently decreasing Ukrainian population. Hungary, therefore, has special responsibility in the conservation of the European population of the species.

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