Bird Conservation International



Opinion

Trapping and hunting of migratory raptors in western Georgia


ERWIN VAN MAANEN  a1 , IRAKLI GORADZE  a2 , ALEXANDER GAVASHELISHVILI  a3 and REZO GORADZE  a2
a1 Earth Holistics, Molenstraat 79, 7411 NR Deventer, The Netherlands
a2 Regional Activity Centre for Black Sea Biodiversity Conservation, 51 Rustaveli Street, 384500 Batumi, Georgia
a3 Georgian Centre for the Conservation of Wildlife, Ambrolaury Street 4/2, 380060 Tblisi, Georgia

Abstract

The practice of trapping migratory sparrowhawks Accipiter spp. for falconry and the indiscriminate hunting of other migratory raptors, together with an alleged trade in raptors, were investigated in the eastern Black Sea coastal region of the Republic of Georgia in 1998. Falconry and hunting are deeply rooted in Georgian tradition, exacerbated by the current socioeconomic crisis, and result in significant mortality of migratory raptors during the autumn migration along strategic bottlenecks in the Kolkheti Lowland and along the Atchara-Imereti mountain range. The mortality of migratory raptors resulting directly from hunting and trapping ranges between 1,500 and 3,000 birds during the autumn migration. Education of trappers and hunters through constructive dialogue and advocating best practice is practicable and imperative to reduce the magnitude of raptors killed.