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AMFCR attends the 2018 Annual General Meeting of the…

 

In Bamberg, Germany, the Moroccan Association for Falconry and Raptors Conservation participated on October 22 at the General Assembly of the International Association for Falconry and Preservation of Birds of Prey (IAF). The two flagship events this year were the IAF’s 50th anniversary celebration and the election of His Excellency Majid Mansouri as its head.

 

 MAFRC participated from October 21-24 in Bamberg, Germany, to the IAF Annual General Meeting. The non-profit organization’s mission is to safeguard the Art of Falconry and has a network of some 115 clubs and specialized institutions in more than 90 countries around the world. Several activities were on the agenda of this assembly, but the specificity of this year was the election of His Excellency Majid Mansouri, who replaces Dr. Adrian Lombard as President of the IAF.

Another anniversary was also celebrated, that of the Falkenorden (DFO), the main organization of German Falconry, and affiliated to the IAF. The AMFCR was notably invited to the meeting of the National Delegates as well as to the various flying hunts.

Election of His Excellency Majid Mansouri, first IAF Arab President:

Another highlight that has taken place this year is the election of His Excellency Majid Mansouri to head the IAF. This is the first time since the creation of the IAF that a president of Arab origin is elected at its head. During his tenure as IAF Vice President for the Middle East and North Africa region, His Excellency Majid Ali Al Mansouri developed the IAF strategy for this region.

As a founding member and Secretary General of the Emirates Falconers’ Club, he contributed to the Sheikh Zayed program, releasing more than 1,600 hawks into the wild. He also founded the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital and worked on projects to increase the number of Houbaras. In 2008, His Excellency Majid Al Mansouri received the “Best Environmental Personality” award at the Gulf States Cooperation Council.

 

رخمة Recovery & Rehabilitation

“PHOENIX”: resurrection of an electrocuted Egyptian Vulture

The Moroccan Association for Falconry and Raptors Conservation (MAFRC) with the coordination of the of the High Commission for Water and Forests and the Fight against Desertification (HCEFLCD) rehabilitated, marked and then successfully released an electrocuted Egyptian vulture -Neophron percnopterus-. Thanks to multiple treatments and a feather transplant, the Vulture was able to take off and resume its migration to the south.

   As the legendary bird and symbol of resurrection, endowed with great longevity and characterized by its power to be reborn after being consumed in the flames, we could not find a better name than “PHOENIX” to this Egyptian vulture, which miraculously survived an electrocution on a medium voltage pylon. On March 27th, informed by Mr. Mohamed Chaibi citizen of Ifrane, the MAFRC was able to proceed with the recovery of PHOENIX.

The Egyptian vulture is the most endangered species among the four vulture species of the Western Palearctic. The species classified “DANGER” in the red list of IUCN, is in a more than vulnerable situation, which justifies the deployment of all the possible actions to favor its Conservation.

At the time of recovery, PHOENIX suffered multiple burns, including the right paw, in addition to the loss of 5 primary primaries on its right wing, charred at the time of electrocution on a medium voltage pylon.

After the agreement and with the coordination of the of the High Commission for Water and Forests and the Fight against Desertification (HCEFLCD), the MARFC recovered PHOENIX March 27 to try a rehabilitation and a reintegration in its environment. The Vulture has received several treatments and care as well as a delicate operation of feather implantation. The so-called enter technique is usually used in Falconry and involves taking feathers from a “donor bird” and “grafting” them into the damaged feathers of a recipient bird. This method set up centuries ago by falconers to repair the broken feathers of their birds during hunt parties is now used for rehabilitation and conservation purposes.

The Egyptian Vulture was subsequently equipped with a 50 gram GPS beacon, courtesy of the Max Planck Center for Animal Marking, represented by Dr. Wolfgang Fiedler. He was and also banded (Inst Sci Rabat 104) on the right tarsus and carries on the left tarsus a ring DARVIC of yellow color M05.

The Egyptian Vulture was subsequently equipped with a 50 gram GPS tracker, it was and also banded (Inst Sci Rabat 104) on the right tarsus and carries on the left tarsus a ring DARVIC of yellow color M05.

 

PHOENIX successfully took off on August 3rd at Jbel Moussa as directed by the High Commission for Water and Forests and the Fight against Desertification (HCEFLCD) and with the assistance of GREPOM Nord-Ouest and MAFRC. Demonstrating a perfect recovery, the Egyptian Vulture flew without difficulty, arousing much emotion among the team that participated in the release.

 

PHOENIX stayed more than 15 days in the hinterland of Larache, where he was observed for 25 minutes on 17/08/2018 by a member of the AMFCR. It began its migration south on 21/08/2018, traveling an average of 270 kms per day before reaching the Algero-Mauritanian border, where it issued its last known position on August 24, 2018. At this date, the battery of the tracker was near the lowest threshold and most likely extinguished. It is possible that there was dirt or feathers covering the solar panel, which prevented the correct charging of the battery.

 

At this point, the only option is to wait. The next time the tracker has a GSM connection and enough energy, it will emit a GPS position. High-resolution GPS tracking of birds reveals the threats they face. We can see that PHOENIX, during his journey, spent a lot of time around electrical poles where he was directly exposed to lethal electrocutions…

Good wind and quickly reunion!

 

The complete tracking of this bird can be consulted on the Movebank study “Raptors MPIO AMFCR Morocco”.

More infos about the marking.

Recovery & Rehabilitation

Raptors Conservation: MAFRC participates in the third national workshop

During the third workshop for the development of a raptors conservation strategy in Morocco, the MAFRC presented the results of its achievements as well as its project of National Center for the Rehabilitation of Raptors.

The High Commission for Water and Forests and the Fight against Desertification (HCEFLCD) in collaboration with the IUCN Mediterranean Cooperation Center (IUCN-Med) and the Regional Government of Andalusia, organized, from 2 to the 4th October 2018 at Jbel Moussa, a series of trainings on the methods of census and monitoring of birds of prey. The event is part of the series of activities developed for a transfer of knowledge on endangered raptor conservation between technicians and managers from both shores of the Mediterranean.

The MAFRC reveals the results of its rehabilitations

During this third workshop for the development of a raptor conservation strategy in Morocco, the MAFRC presented the report about the rehabilitated raptors during these last 10 months in its provisional center. Participants commended the efforts of the AMFCR and the encouraging results that have been achieved: more than a third of the rehabilitated birds have been able to return to Nature. At the end of the presentation, the AMFCR revealed its plan to create a National Raptor Rehabilitation Center currently under preparation.

On the sidelines of the event, the AMFCR released a rehabilitated griffon vulture (Gyps fulvus). The bird was found in the Bir Jdid area last September. Contacted by the citizen who retrieved it, the AMFCR made the trip and then undertook to rehabilitate the bird of prey, which was not injured but appeared to be suffering from extreme fatigue.

Towards a first census of rupicolous raptors

This third workshop aimed to establish a roadmap in partnership with Moroccan ornithologists of all kinds –GOMAC, AMFCR, AGIR, GREPOM, ASARA– and officials of concerned authorities – HCEFLCD, Royal Gendarmerie – in order to achieve a better knowledge of those species in Morocco. This training is organized within the framework of the project “Safe Flyways – reducing energy infrastructure related to bird mortality in the Mediterranean”, funded by MAVA Foundation.

Several presentations and debates took place during the three days in order to organize a first census of raptors in Morocco. All the participants agreed on the urgent need to carry out this enumeration then a follow-up, which will make it possible to make the good diagnoses and action plans necessary to save threatened species of raptors in Morocco.

Recovery & Rehabilitation

I found a raptor what should I do?

When you come across a raptor in distress, it is necessary to take into consideration certain actions in order to intervene safely while optimizing the chances of its rescue.

Raptors encounter a multitude of dangers during their lives. In some cases, difficult conditions during migration can cause extreme fatigue. It is thus possible to meet tired or injured raptors who may die without intervention.

In other cases, raptors in distress are due to poisoning, electrocution or even persecution of poachers -raptor hunting is illegal in Morocco.

Faced with a raptor in distress, it is necessary to take into consideration certain actions to intervene safely while optimizing the chances of its rescue:

  • The first thing that is necessary to ensure is that the raptor is really in distress: the young nocturnal raptors (owls) who experience their first flight are sometimes clumsy and may give the impression that they are in distress while they are not. Faced with a young nocturnal raptor, it is best not to approach and give it the time and space to take off. If the young raptor is exposed to an immediate danger (cats, car …) the only intervention to be done is to position it in height (a tree, perch).
  • If you have to handle a raptor, you must take precautions to avoid its beak and its claws. Start by covering its head with a cloth allowing it to breathe, but without seeing. Grab it by the back at the height of the shoulders, wings affixed to the body. Hold its arms outstretched with heavy gloves or cloth, be careful not to get too close to people in your immediate vicinity. Be careful not to damage the feathers of the bird during handling.
  • Put it in a cardboard and avoid stressing it. Then put it in a quiet dark place. Do not feed it or give it to drink, and immediately inform the MAFRC (Moroccan Association for Falconry and Raptors Conservation) at: 0666922219.
milan Recovery & Rehabilitation

Larache: rehabilitation and release of a black kite

An immature black kite (Milvus migrans) was recovered on 05/08/2018 in Khmiss Sahel on the edge of a track. The bird was probably poisoned or intoxicated. On the same day, the AMFCR took care of the bird for rehabilitation. On 31/08/2018, the bird completely recovered from its intoxication, and was released in the same area where it was found, after being equipped with a metal ring on the right tarsus (105 Cemo Inst Sci Rabat). We wish him a safe journey to his winter quarters!

Bands & satellite tracking

MAFRC finds a dead Montagu’s Harrier in the area…

The AMFCR has found a dead Montagu’s Harrier (Circus pygargus) in the area of Fkih Ben Salah. The Raptor previously equipped with a GPS tracker by the Centre for Biological Studies of Chizé in France was most likely killed by poachers.

 

The alert was launched on 23 August when Alexandre Villers of the Center for Biological Studies of Chizé in France asked his Moroccan colleagues if they could find a Montagu’s Harrier previously equipped with a GPS tracker.

The story of this Montagu’s Harrier had begun a few days before.

We nicknamed Greedy because it was greed that made him caugh in our trap -he took speed a young non-breeder male who would land on a pole equipped with a trap and a vole-. He was mating with a female, Oriana, also captured this year on June 19 and marked red red blue yellow. The birds were not known -it was not birds already banded- and reared 4 chicks until fledge for a laying of 4 eggs -which is rather not bad given the conditions tells Alexandre Villers in his exchange with the MAFRC.

A Journey well gone:

After releasing Greedy, Alexandre’s team could continue to follow his migration. The Raptor left Deux-Sèvres on 15 August for its wintering quarters in sub-Saharan Africa. It has travelled 410 km in 8 hours during this day ” as mentioned in Magornitho’s article .

Arrived in Morocco the bird eventually stopped in the area of Fkih Ben Salah – region of Beni Mellal-Khénifra -. Following the call by Alexandre on Twitter, the MAFRC responded to the request of his colleagues by moving to the indicated place:

The probable track of a poacher’s shot:

Unfortunately, the Raptor was found dead, lying in an agricultural field. It seems that the bird has landed in this field, and died after convulsing in a rather violent manner. Karim did an autopsy but the body was already well auto-lysed, so no obvious evidence could be found. However, most likely he received one or more hunting leads in the organs, he then flew some distance before coming to die in this field as a result of these injuries. Note that the bird had no fractures.

I do not like to tap on hunters when there is no evidence, however it looks like the work of a poacher who opened fire on this bird that passed upon him. Turtle Dove frequently hunted in the area of Fkih Ben Salah. Otherwise a poisoning, but with regard to the quasi-not scavengers regime of the Motagu’s Harrier, i believe this is an unlikely option says Karim Rousselon.

Threatened mainly by poaching, poisoning and trafficking of species, raptors in Morocco will soon benefit from the establishment of a dedicated national strategy being developed by the Office of the High Commission for Water and Forestry (HCEFLCD) with the assistance of its national and international partners.

 

In Morocco the Harrier nests – not very commonlly and very locally – in the Atlantic coast between Tangiers and Essaouira, as well as on the Mediterranean coast – mouth of the Moulouya for example -. In addition, the species during its migration – especially from March to May and from August to October – is fairly common in all regions of the country.

Article 12 of the order of the Ministry of Agriculture No. 582-62 of 3 November 1962 on permanent regulation of hunting, article 2 of the Order of the High Commission for Water and forests, opening closing and special rules for hunting during the 2017-2018 season, as well as the Law 29-05 on the protection of species of wild flora and fauna and the control of their trade, clearly forbid any hunting of nocturnal or diurnal raptors under penalty of legal action.

 

Conservation

Wing-tagging and release of vultures at Jbel Moussa (Cinereous,…

An operation to release some vultures was carried out at Jbel Moussa on 17 August 2018. It was organized by the Forestry Administration (HCEFLCD) in collaboration with the Moroccan Association for Falconry and Raptors Conservation (MAFRC) and a number of national institutions and NGOs.

 After a period of rehabilitation, a Griffon vulture and a Rüppell vulture were released at Jbel Moussa on August 17, 2018. This operation was conducted by the HCEFLCD in collaboration with several institutions and NGOs including the MAFRC.

Cinereous Vulture (Aegypius monachus):

This bird was found at Khmis Anjra (located at some 30 Km south of the Strait of Gibraltar). It was taken care of by a farmer for a period of time (more about this later), and on 9 August 2018 it was recovered by the North-West section of GREPOM in collaboration with the Forestry Administration (HCEFLCD – DREF-Rif).

The vulture was wing-tagged with white-code markings on black background (M20). Because it still can’t fly at that moment, it was taken by the Moroccan Association for Falconry and the Conservation of Raptors (AMFCR) to a raptor rehabilitation aviary in Bouznika (with the agreement of the HCEFLCD).

 

Cinereous Vulture / Vautour moine (Aegypius monachus): M20, Jbel Moussa region, 17 Aug. 2018 (Rachid El Khamlichi)

Annually a few Cinereous Vultures cross the Strait of Gibraltar to winter in Morocco, although some of them venture as far south as West Africa. Read more:

Griffon Vulture (Gyps fulvus):

This vulture was ringed and wing-tagged in Portugal by Quercus ANCN. On 08 July 2018, it was found weak at Khouribga and taken care of by a citizen. Alerted by GREPOM, the Forestry Administration (HCEFLCD) recovered the bird three days later. It was then transferred to the facilities of the National Zoological Garden (JZR) for treatment and recovery. On the release day, the HCEFLCD gave the green light to the AMFCR to transport the bird to Jbel Moussa.

The original wing-tags (white ‘X8’ on green background) were almost torn up by the vulture (see photo). Therefore, it was necessary to mark the vulture with new wing-tags (white ‘M19’ on black background).

 

Griffon Vulture / Vautour fauve (Gyps fulvus), Jbel Moussa region, 17 Aug. 2018 (Karim Rousselon). It was wing-tagged in Portugal with ‘8X‘.

 

Griffon Vulture / Vautour fauve (Gyps fulvus), Jbel Moussa region, 17 Aug. 2018 (Karim Rousselon). The same bird as above but with new wing-tags: ‘M19‘

 

Rüppel’s Vulture (Gyps rueppelli):

This bird was recovered in the Oriental region by the Emirates Center for Wildlife Propagation (ECWP) in collaboration with the Forestry Administration (HCEFLCD – DREF-Oriental). It was wing-tagged (black ‘M1’ on white background) and equipped with a GPS transmitter. It was released at Jbel Moussa area but it did not flight away.

Rüppell’s Vulture / Vautour de Rüppell (Gyps rueppelli): ‘M1‘, Jbel Moussa region, 17 Aug. 2018 (Karim Rousselon).

Another Rüppel’s Vulture found by citizens on the roof of a building at Fnideq on 13 August. It was recovered on the same day by GREPOM and the Forestry Administration. It was meant to be wing-tagged and released on the same day as the other vultures. However, it escaped and flown away two days later. This bird is the 10th Rüppel’s Vulture for “spring 2018” in the area of Jbel Moussa. For the other birds, read: Migration of rare vultures at Jbel Moussa, spring 2018. (Although we don’t know for sure if it was migrating north or south when it landed on that roof. However, we know that some vultures still moving northward in August and September).

 

The vulture release team.

By MaghrebOrnitho | 21 August 2018

Moussem Flight Hunting - Falconry

Moussem Moulay Abdellah 2018: TABIYAZT in the spotlight

El Jadida: from 3d to 10th August the Moussem of Moulay Abdellah Agbey has put in the spotlight the cultural heritage Doukkali. Among the activities put forward: the falconry of the Kwassems more known as TABIYAZT.

The secular Moussem Moulay Abdellah Amghar, which took place under the high patronage of SM King Mohammed VI from the 3rd to the10th August 2018, has still been a perfect opportunity to highlight the Jdidi cultural heritages.

500,000 people responded to the Moussem call. This is how the Kwassems were able to show off their talents and know-how. Through several shows using falcons trained by their care the “Byaza” have demonstrated a particular human-animal relationship. Like every year, the enthusiasm was at the rendezvous showing a obvious interest of the public in the face of a heritage sometimes unknown but always appreciated.

conservation Conservation

Conservation by Falconry

Thanks to the know-how acquired by the practice of falconry, it is possible to increase the chances of success of the activities of conservation and rehabilitation of raptors.

Falconry can be beneficial for education and the training of birds for rehabilitation puposes. The knowledge of the falconers-concerning the birds they possess – ecology and reproduction in captivity – have unrivaled value in terms for an active participation in projects for reintroduction of endangered species.

In another register, falconry also makes it possible to solve problems related to invasive avian species without having to go through poisoning or extermination. Whether in airports, industrial sites or even urban spaces, it is possible to effaroucher groups of birds and to remove them definitively by using a falconer who use a raptor to shase away other undesirable birds.

مهرجان الصقور Flight Hunting - Falconry

TABIYAZT: The Moroccan Falconry

Falconry, Al Bayzara, Tabiyazt, al Sayd B-Ettaïr al Horr, Assaqqara, or falcon hunting is the art of capturing live preys with raptors specially trained for this purpose.

The practice of TABIYAZT has appeared in Morocco with the advent of the Arabs in the Maghreb, since the 12th century. This mode of hunting was, then, widespread, both in the royal community and among nomadic and semi-nomadic communities.

Historical texts attest to the interest that the Sultans of Morocco – since the Almohad (13th century) to the modern Alawi (since the seventeenth century)- granted to the art of TABIYAZT and the role played by the Falcon in the diplomatic exchanges of Morocco with the other Eastern and Western sovereigns.

It is quite difficult to specify a date regarding the beginning of the practice of the art of falconry in Morocco. Nevertheless, the practice of TABIYAZT appeared in our country with the advent of the Arabs in the Maghreb, in particular, from the 12th century onwards. This mode of hunting then spread, both among the ruling elite and among nomadic and semi-nomadic communities. The historical texts attest to the interest that the Sultans of Morocco, from the time Almohad at the time Alawi, granted to the art of TABIYAZT and the role played by the Falcon in the diplomatic exchanges of Morocco with the other sovereigns of the East and the West . The Dahirs of the nineteenth century testify to the importance attributed to this activity by the Alawi sultans who have continually encouraged the Kouassem families of Doukkala, known for a long time by their passion for falconry, and who have managed to Keep this tradition alive until today.

Attracted by the exploits of this bird in the pursuit and capture of prey, the man first used it for hunting purposes before making his use an art and a fascinating leisure sport that has its ethics and rules, demanding patience and perseverance To capture the Falcon, maintain it, affaiter it, and make it hunt.

Falconry has traditionally been practised by the Kwassems tribe in the Doukkala region for a very long time. It is exercised in the open areas adjacent to their homes. The kind of Falcon most used is the pilgrim called “Bahri” and “Nandagiri”, it is captured in the regions of the cities Essaouira and Safi with a traditional method: a net is stretched around three stakes and on which one places a pigeon serving as bait. Attracted by the agitation of the pigeon, the hawk hovers around him, then he attacks him. At that time the Falcon is hung in the net and then captured by the falconer. This one proceeds, then, to its affaitage and its initiation to the hunt of the game, which can last several weeks. The kind of game hunted and the most widespread in Morocco is of type Curlew garish called locally korzit -Burhinus oedicnemus-.

The practice of this art has succeeded in bringing together a large number of passionate followers in several regions of the world federated notably by the international Association of falconry, of which Morocco is an active member.

“Rich in these centuries-old traditions and its many variations, what is really Falconry?
Essentially it is a dramatization, and a personalized form of ornithology. This implies a type of proxy hunting, where the human identifies with the raptor and consents to a role of secondary importance. This identification is so absolute that sometimes the falconer is literally incarnated in the bird. He then enters the inflexible world of nature, where death is common, and every minute of life, an accomplishment. And in this world, what seems familiar to us suddenly takes on a new meaning. Man is metamorphosed, he acquires a fraction of the hawk’s qualities and feels the excitement of his fiery flight. Falconry allows us to take part in a complete ritual, consisting of a beginning, a purpose and a definite goal suddenly accessible. She offers us a real collaboration that requires a sense of responsibility, creativity, and a taste for risk. Could this be a way to escape the confusion and stagnation inherent in modern life? because Falconry raises the spirit, broadens our horizons and instills in us a certain philosophy. How else can we explain this fascination exerted on us by a bird, which is after all a heap of feathers and a few pounds of flesh?
What, then, is falconry, if not a form of love, a form of forgotten love.
An old poem summarizes this thought well: “There comes a time when the bird on your fist is ready to fly, as it moves away, it seems closer to you but rises higher and higher. Where are you then? you who have weak eyes and heavy foot, dominate your limitations and fly! fly under his wing … “
Definition by Jacek Strek