Tag: Conservation

Workshops and events

MAFRC participates in training on the identification criteria for…

On Saturday, February 23, 2019, at the Natural History Museum of Marrakech, a training workshop was held on the criteria for identifying Moroccan raptors. This training was given by Mohamed Radi of GREPOM (Groupe de Recherche pour la Protection des Oiseaux au Maroc), Karim Rousselon of AMFCR (Association Marocaine pour la Fauconnerie et la Conservation des Rapaces) and Fabrice Cuzin (Consultant in protected areas and impact studies), in partnership with Cady Ayyad University (UCA), the Natural History Museum of Marrakech and the High Commission for Water and Forests and the Fight against Desertification (HCEFLCD).

 The objectives of the training were to strengthen the capacity to identify birds in the wild, in particular within the framework of the ATLAS Programme for the National Census of Birds of Prey in Morocco. The ATLAS Programme should eventually allow the acquisition of data to better understand the dynamics of raptor populations in Morocco, in order to optimize the Conservation of species that have been deemed most threatened.

The audience present consisted of members of GREPOM and other NGOs, representatives of the DREF (Regional administration of the High Commission for Water and Forests and the Fight against Desertification) and PhD students from the UCA.

The workshop started at 9am with a presentation by Mr Karim Rousselon of the ATLAS Programme for the census of raptors in the Mediterranean region initiated by IUCN, while emphasizing the contribution of HCEFLCD and Moroccan NGOs as well as the modalities for the implementation of this census project.

This workshop was attended by about twenty participants made up of members of GREPOM, representatives of the Regional Directorate of Water and Forests of the High Atlas (DREF), PhD students and a representative of a Saffron Association. The Powerpoint presentation was made by Mr. Radi Mohamed (Coordinator of the Marrakech-Haut Atlas-GREPOM unit) and was presented by Mr. Karim Rousselon, President of the AMFCR (Moroccan Association for Sausage and Raptor Conservation), with the participation of Mr. Fabrice Cuzin.

Frequent exchanges between participants and trainers punctuated the presentation. The quality of the presentation and the information provided by the speakers contributed not only to the acquisition of techniques and methods for identifying birds of prey, but also to the enrichment of knowledge of the ecology, behaviour and distribution of these birds in Morocco.

At the end of the presentation, the question and answer session was followed by a coffee break and the workshop ended at 12:30 pm, after the photo of the group of participants. Further such sessions will be organized in the future.

Bands & satellite tracking

Recovery, rehabilitation and marking of a young female Spanish…

The Moroccan Association for Falconry and Raptors Conservation (MAFRC) successfully scored and released a female Iberian Eagle. This operation, supervised by the High Commission for Water and Forests and the Fight Against Desertification (HCEFLCD) and executed by the MAFRC in partnership with Consejeria de Medio Ambiente y Ordenacion del Territorio of the Junta de Andalucia and the Migres Foundation, will enable the identification of threats to these birds in Morocco in order to take corrective measures.


  On November 17, 2018, a female Spanish Imperial Eagle was recovered by the AMFCR in the Bouznika region. The bird, a young female born in 2017 in Spain, was weak, distressed and affected by coccidiosis.

Treated and then rehabilitated during a month in an aviary by the AMFCR, its marking and its release were planned with the agreement and the close collaboration of the High Commission of the Waters and Forests and the Fight Against Desertification (HCEFLCD), the Consejeria de Medio Ambiente y Ordenacion del Territorio de la Junta de Andalucia and the Migres Foundation.

A 45 gram GPS loggers and a yellow Darvic M06 ring were fitted on the bird that was successfully released on 17 December 2018. The bird has been observed in good health in the Benslimane region’s oak trees several times, guaranteeing the success of its reintegration to nature.

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As a reminder, the Spanish Imperial Eagle is an emblematic species that almost disappeared in the 1970s, mainly because of electrocution, the scarcity of prey (especially rabbit), poisoning and modification of its habitats. The recovery and conservation plan of the Spanish Imperial Eagle set up by the different Spanish provinces allowed the stabilization, then the progressive increase of its population.

Female Spanish Imperial Eagle (Ringe M06) fitted with GPS logger just before the release. Bouznika – 17/12/2018 – Photo Karim LAIDI


Today, between 600 and 700 pairs of Eagles populate the Peninsula, versus 120/130 pairs in 1970. The Moroccan breeding population, which existed in low density in the North-West of the Country (Maamora Forest, Plain of Loukkos), is considered as probably extinct around 1940. However, as a result of Spain’s considerable efforts for the conservation of the species, the Moroccan and North African observations of erratic immature Spanish Imperial Eagles coming from the Peninsula are more and more frequent.

In 2017, at least four Spanish Imperial eagles crossed the Strait of Gibraltar towards North Africa. It was in the 4 cases immature birds:

  • A bird photographed, after crossing the Strait of Gibraltar, behind the port of Tangier-Med, September 12 (R. El Khamlichi).
  • A bird photographed at the same place on October 6, also just after crossing the strait (R. El Khamlichi).
  • A bird also photographed on the same site on November 10 (R. El Khamlichi, Cécile Krystelle and Radu Adrian).

A male tracked by satellite in Andalusia crossed the strait in September 2017. The bird traveled from northern Morocco to Algeria and then to the Atlas Mountains, the Sahara and Guelmim. It then moved north on the Atlantic coast between Casablanca and Rabat. Karim Rousselon was able to locate and photograph the bird on October 27, 2017 (Fig.3). The bird has not since left Morocco where he stays mainly in the protected hunting reserves, which seem to offer him protection and food. Hope to see a breeding case soon.

Satellite monitoring of these birds will provide essential information for the identification of the main threats affecting these birds in Morocco, and can therefore provide corrective measures. In the long term, this work orchestrated by the HCEFLCD fits into the framework of the implementation of a National Strategy for the Conservation of Birds of Prey in Morocco, which should make it possible to ensure the survival of the most endangered raptor populations in Morocco. Raptors are an essential link to ensure the balance of ecosystems.

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.

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.