2019 Photo Contest, Nature, Stories, 1st Prize

Falcons and the Arab Influence

Photographer

Brent Stirton

Getty Images for National Geographic

20 May, 2018

Batbayar Bold, a member of the Mongolian Wildlife Science and Conservation Center examines a saker falcon chick in an artificial nest for falcons in Central Mongolia. Some 5,000 such nests have been created in the region to increase saker breeding populations.

The millennia-old practice of falconry is experiencing an international resurgence, especially as a result of efforts in the Arab world. UNESCO now recognises falconry as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity (ICH), a status enjoyed by no other hunting sport. Falcons bred in captivity have helped diminish the trade in captured wild birds, including some species that are listed as endangered. But some falcons in the wild continue to be at risk from capture and other anthropogenic factors such as electrocution on badly designed powerlines, habitat degradation and agrochemicals. Similarly, although the breeding of birds such as houbara bustards for prey has made hunting a more sustainable practice, the British Ornithologists’ Union reported that the wild houbara population continued to decline.

About the photographer

Brent Stirton

Brent Stirton is a special correspondent for Getty Images, and a regular contributor to National Geographic magazine as well as other international titles.  He speci...

Technical information

Shutter Speed
1/200
Focal length
25 mm
F-Stop
f/7.1
ISO
100
Camera
Canon EOS 5DS R

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