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

Raptors Conservation. Suppl. 2. Proceedings of Conferences

Appeal to readers

Dear readers!

This is the second special issue of the journal “Raptors Conservation”. It contains the abstracts of the III International Conference “Eagles of the Palearctic: Study and Conservation”, which is being held this time in Kazakhstan, a country that is important for the conservation of many species of large birds of prey, especially the Steppe Eagle (Aquila nipalensis) and the Imperial Eagle (Aquila heliaca). About 80% of the breeding population of the Steppe Eagle and half of all breeding Imperial Eagles in the world are concentrated in Kazakhstan, more than 90% of Greater Spotted Eagles (Aquila [Clanga] clanga) migrate through Kazakhstan and a huge number of immature eagles and sea eagles, born from the Volga to the Yenisei, spend their summers in Kazakhstan. Even Indian species like the Pallas’ Sea Eagle (Haliaeetus leucoryphus) and the Asian Tawny Eagle (Aquila [rapax] vindhiana) spend summer here, as proven by the latest research by tracking Indian birds tagged with GPS/GSM-trackers. The fate of many species of large birds of prey depends on how their conservation is carried out in Kazakhstan, and this understanding needs to be conveyed both to officials in Kazakhstan and to ordinary, especially novice, researchers. And a large International Conference bringing together the world’s leading specialists of eagles can contribute to this. That is why Kazakhstan was chosen as the venue for the next conference “Eagles of the Palearctic: Study and Conservation”.

The special issue with conference abstracts includes 113 abstracts by 235 scientists from 30 countries of the World. This material accumulates the latest knowledge on various modern research lines of different scientists in the field of understanding the biology, ecology and conservation of the most recognizable large birds of prey of our planet – eagles.

This Conference is perhaps the first event to bring together many specialists of eagles in person since the COVID-19 pandemic, which sent much of the world’s population into forced isolation. The pandemic led to a significant reduction in human activity on a global scale, creating an “anthropause” that provided an unprecedented opportunity to understand human impacts on nature by comparing the biology of different animal species before and after isolation. Lockdown measures have allowed scientists to separate the effects of direct human intervention in animal habitats at the local level from the effects of anthropogenic influence on the environment on a global scale. And eagles in this case are indicator species for studying the effects of “anthropause”, as they are sensitive to environmental changes, including under the influence of multidirectional human activities, include many endangered species both locally and globally, include both sedentary species and long-distance migrants crossing many countries with different levels of anthropogenic influence. This will, of course, be discussed in reports and behind the scenes.

It is also worth noting that the COVID-19 pandemic has not bypassed the eagle research community. Some scientists departed this world and the trouble did not bypass Kazakhstan. Such famous Kazakhstani ornithologists passed away during the pandemic as Oleg Belyalov , Evgeny Bragin, and Askar Isabekov, who made a huge contribution to the development of bird watchers’ websites not only in Kazakhstan, but also in most countries of the former USSR, which are actively used by professional ornithologists. After the pandemic, Nikolai Berezovikov, who published many articles on eagles in Kazakhstan, passed away. At the conference, participants will repeatedly recall these researchers and their contribution to the pool of knowledge about the birds of Kazakhstan.

As always, we hope that the collection of abstracts of the conference “Eagles of the Palearctic: Study and Conservation” will be useful not only for the participants, but also for scientists, postgraduates and students interested in the study and conservation of large birds of prey, who for some reason missed this event.

Regards and see you at the Conference,
Igor Karyakin, Editor-in-Chief