Thursday, July 15, 2010

Report on the 6th ARRCN Symposium on Asian Raptors

The 6th Asian Raptor Research & Conservation Network (ARRCN) Symposium, held in Mongolia from 23 – 27 June 2010, was jointly organized by the Mongolian Ornithological Society and National University of Mongolia, with support from ARRCN, Ministry of Nature, Environment and Tourism, Mongolian Academy of Science, the Peregrine Fund and several Japanese corporate sponsors.

The theme this year was “Science and Conservation for Present and Future”. Some 130 people from 18 countries registered for the symposium, which opened in the capital city Ulaanbaatar and later moved to Hustai Nuruu National Park, about 100 km away.

Following the format of previous editions, this symposium was also divided into three parts: oral presentations, posters and workshops. There were 43 oral and 35 poster presentations covering a wide range of topics that mainly included population and distribution, ecology and habitat use, breeding biology, conservation status and migration. Aun Tiah’s paper “Some aspects of spring raptor migration at Tanjung Tuan, Malaysia” and my own on “Current status and distribution of diurnal raptors in Malaysia” are attached with this report.

The four workshop sessions on Raptor Research and Management Techniques were conducted by several well-known names in the raptor research world. Dr Keith Bildstein from Hawk Mountain Sanctuary spoke about migration watch-site counts and roadside surveys.

The Peregrine Fund was represented by Dr Rick Watson and Lloyd Kiff, with the former discussing the critical elements that are consistently important for successful raptor conservation while the latter introduced us to the raptor literature sources available when researching for raptor information.

Prof Ian Newton, who has authored more than 300 scientific papers and seven books, lectured on the study of population ecology as a tool to assess productivity and survival of raptors. Other sessions included those on investigating raptor mortality, marking and tracking methods for raptors, wildlife tracking using ARGOS system and hands-on demonstration of trapping and marking techniques.

Abstracts of all oral, poster and workshop presentations are available on the ARRCN website:

ARRCN Symposium Program and Abstracts

The five Malaysian participants included Lim Aun Tiah and Lim Kim Chye of the Raptor Study Group, MNS-BCC and three others Dr Jalila Abu, Chong Leong Puan and Mohamed Naim from Universiti Putra Malaysia. ARRCN provided ISGs (International Student Grant) for the air tickets for Mohamed Naim and the two MNS participants. In addition, MNS paid for the registration fee of USD150 each for Aun Tiah and Kim Chye while expenses for accommodation and other costs were borne by themselves.

Apart from presenting oral papers, ISG awardees also had to agree to conduct a raptor workshop upon return to their home country. The format of this workshop in Malaysia, to be held in Kuala Lumpur sometime in September 2010, will generally follow that of the sessions held in Mongolia.

ARRCN has provided USD300 workshop expenses to Dr Jalila Abu who has agreed to organize the event with support from Raptor Study Group.

The Mongolia symposium afforded RSG the opportunity to gain valuable lessons about raptor research field techniques from world experts. The varied topics presented at the symposium and net-working opportunities with the delegates have provided RSG some ideas on how to encourage more raptor research in Malaysia.

One tentative idea that resulted from discussions with the ARGOS delegate is a co-operative project among Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore to study raptor migration using satellite tracking.

The next symposium will be held in January 2012 in South Korea, with a focus on spring raptor migration. RSG suggests that members interested in raptors prepare suitable project papers in order to be eligible to apply for the ISG to attend the 7th Symposium.

Reported by:

Lim Kim Chye
Raptor Study Group

12 July 2010

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