Third International Scientific and Practical Conference “Eagles of the Palearctic: Study and Conservation”

Raptors Conservation. Suppl. 2. Proceedings of Conferences

Legislative Protection of Birds of Prey and Strengthening the Fight Against Their Illegal Traffic in Kazakhstan

Sklyarenko S.L. (Association for the Conservation of Biodiversity of Kazakhstan, Almaty, Kazakhstan)

Sergey Sklyarenko
Recommended citation: Sklyarenko S.L. Legislative Protection of Birds of Prey and Strengthening the Fight Against Their Illegal Traffic in Kazakhstan. – Raptors Conservation. 2023. S2: 186–190. DOI: 10.19074/1814-8654-2023-2-186-190 URL:

The fauna of birds of prey in Kazakhstan includes 40 species, 15 species are included in the “List of rare and endangered species of animals” (Red Book of the Republic of Kazakhstan). According to the Law “On the Protection, Reproduction and Use of Wildlife” (Article 15), the taking of individuals of rare and endangered species from nature is allowed in exceptional cases by decision of the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan, for: 1) breeding in specially created conditions for scientific, reproduction, commercial purposes, as well as for subsequent release into the environment; 2) development of national hunting; 3) scientific research; 4) selection. At least in the last 10 years, no permits have been issued for the rare birds of prey species to be taken from nature.

None of the species of birds of prey is included in either the “List of valuable species of animals that are objects of hunting and fishing”, or the “List of animal species, the number of which is subject to regulation...”, that is, permits for their production are not issued on a regular basis. Under Kazakh law, taking birds of prey (as well as other animals) without a permit is illegal and punishable either under the Code of Administrative Offenses (AC) or the Criminal Code (CC).

In the case of the “Red Books”, Article 339 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan punishes “Illegal procurement, acquisition, storage, sale, import, export, transfer, transportation, or destruction of rare and endangered species of plants or animals, their parts or derivatives, including species, the treatment of which is regulated by international treaties of the Republic of Kazakhstan, as well as plants or animals on which a ban on the use, their parts or derivatives has been introduced, as well as the destruction of their habitats. ». Punishment, depending on the damage, the presence of a criminal group, etc., generally ranges from a fine of up to three thousand MCI (minimum calculated indicators; for 2023, 1 MCI = 3,450 tenge, or about 7.5 US dollars) to 12 years in prison. For "ordinary" species, Art. 337 "Illegal hunting", which includes only illegal obtaining or destruction, with punishment options from a fine of up to three thousand MCI to imprisonment for up to 10 years.

Without signs of a criminally punishable act, Art. 382 of the AC "Violation of the requirements for the use of wildlife and hunting rules", according to which they can either be limited to a warning, or impose (on individuals) a fine of up to 70 MCI, or deprive the right to hunt for up to 2 years.

In any case, in addition the damages shall be recovered, as determined by the document “Amounts of compensation for damage caused by violation of the legislation of the Republic of Kazakhstan in the field of protection, reproduction and use of wildlife”. The range of rates of claims by species is from 5 to 700 MCI. The current rates for 2023 are not always logical and justified and need to be improved. The keeping of birds of prey in captivity (except for those temporarily imported for up to 3 months) is regulated by the "Rules for keeping records and registration of birds of prey used in hunting", which provide for their mandatory registration and tagging with the issuance of a "bird of prey passport". Passports are issued by the Republican Association of Public Associations of Hunters and Hunting Entities; the process of legalization of birds is not sufficiently controlled, there is no centralized database even for rare species.

Illegal hunting can be divided into: 1) non-commercial capture for national hunting within the country, including the keeping of birds for photographing with tourists, etc.; 2) shooting for fun and for stuffed animals; 3) commercial capture and export, primarily to Arab countries, including transit (for example, Gyrfalcons

For national hunting, Golden Eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) are mainly used (Red Data Book), for which no permits have been issued for at least the last 30 years. The legalization of birds on hand took place in 2004; cases of using birds from breeding centers are rare. At all festivals etc. at least half of the eagles are 1–3 years old, it means withdrawal from nature weakly covered by "passports". If we follow the letter of the law, then not only the commercial use of Golden Eagles, but also the Kazakh national hunting with birds of prey will be practically destroyed. It is necessary to create an opportunity to legally obtain Golden Eagles for hunting (about 10 birds per year), and then start implementing the law.

For other types of illegal taking, only sufficient awareness of the regulatory authorities is required, the need for which is closely related to the implementation of the provisions of CITES – the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

All birds of prey are included in the CITES Appendices, so their import and export from the country is regulated by a package of relevant regulations. At the same time, with the exception of the above-mentioned "Rules for accounting and registration...", not a single regulatory document for direct use of any interested department has a clear requirement for birds to have non-removable rings (tags). This requirement exists only in the Environmental Code (Article 259), which is not used in direct work at the border.

For the effective application of CITES provisions, it is necessary to coordinate the activities of the relevant departments and inform them (training, manuals, etc.) with regular staff development, refine the regulatory framework, ensure the examination of CITES objects and the maintenance of seized live animals. Since 2014, ACBK, with the support of various donors, the Administrative and Scientific CITES authorities in the Republic of Kazakhstan, has been implementing projects to assist government agencies in curbing illegal traffic in wildlife, including training sniffer dogs (including searching for falcons), training seminars for representatives of customs, border service, police (in total, about 90 people were trained). A manual on the application of CITES in the Republic of Kazakhstan has been developed.

Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaeyos). Photo by I. Karyakin.