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13 janvier 2016 3 13 /01 /janvier /2016 06:25

Après 6 mois d'errance pendant lesquels aucune interaction avec des êtres humains n'a été constatée, un jeune tigre s'est finalement installé dans la forêt jouxtant la Silicon Valley indienne, dans le Karnataka (Sud - Ouest du pays). Times of India, ce jour.Rohith BR, TNN. "After 6 months, wild tiger resurfaces at BNP."

It was a sight to behold and a wild one at that. Visitors to Bannerghatta Biological Park who were out on a safari at the adjacent Bannerghatta National Park (BNP) were in for a royal surprise on Monday -a wild tiger resting near the 'barber stone', a monolithic structure resembling a stone used by barbers to sharpen blades in olden days.
The sighting has reassured the forest department that the wild tiger has made the park its home and that people needn't travel all the way to Bandipur and Nagarahole to spot a wild big cat; BNP is barely 25km from the core city areas.
The tiger was first spotted in the park in July 2015, following which the forest department carried out camera-trapping exercises to check whether it was a stray ."It's confirmed that the tiger has established its territory .As per our analysis, it's a young male tiger. In the last six months, our staff has also recorded tiger kills and territory markings. All this confirms the forest patch next to India's Silicon Valley is home to a wild tiger," said Sunil Pawar, deputy conservator of forests, BNP.
Asked what precautions were being taken to ensure people's safety, Sunil said villagers and other inhabitants of the area have been told to be careful and awareness sessions have been conducted. "Since it's a protected area, everybody has to abide by forest laws. The fact that no human-animal conflict has been witnessed in the past six months indicates all is well," he added.
Santosh Kumar, executive director, BBP, said a staffer informed him about the tiger sighting and hoped more visitors will be able to see the big cat in the days ahead.

Congratulating the forest department for its conservation efforts, wildlife experts said the repeated sighting of the wild tiger is a good sign."No major city in the country has a wild tiger living so close to it. However, extra caution must be taken to ensure villagers don't allow their cattle into the woods or break the fence to cut trees," said Sagar K, a wildlife enthusiast and a regular visitor to the BBP.

Where did it come from?

Bannerghatta National Park officials said they still weren't sure from where the tiger migrated. "We had shared camera-trap images with other forest divisions. But they are not matching with the existing database," said a senior official from the forest department.

Wildlife experts say BNP is now connected to Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary, a protected area covering Ramanagaram, Mandya and Chamarajanagar districts. "The sanctuary, along with the adjacent MM Hills, is home to a good number of wild tigers. The big cat at Bannerghatta could have come from the Cauvery Sanctuary or from the forests of Tamil Nadu," said an expert.

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11 janvier 2016 1 11 /01 /janvier /2016 16:18

LYUTI. Décédé le 18 AVRIL 2012 au centre de réhabilitation et de réintroduction du tigre de l'Amour, à 21 ans. Il se laissait caresser à travers les barreaux... (voir "Dobryi vietchir lyuti zver" sur ce blog le 24 avril 2012). Nul ne meurt jamais. La Beauté, salvatrice, sotériologique. Amur Tiger Centre, ce jour.


Солнце правды (SOLEIL DE JUSTICE). 2017 sera officiellement l'année des aires protégées en Russie.

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9 janvier 2016 6 09 /01 /janvier /2016 08:32


1. Le tigre de l'Amour poursuit sa progression en Chine du Nord - Est . Times of India, il y a 3 jours. IANS. "New evidence of wild Siberian tigers found in China."

BEIJING: Footprints and dead prey from wild Siberian tigers were found at a tree farm in China's Jilin province, suggesting the expansion of the tiger's population and range of activities in China, authorities said on Tuesday.

According to officials with the Baishishan Forestry Bureau, which administers the farm, it was the first time traces of wild Siberian tigers were found within its administration, Xinhua reported.

A ranger patrolling the farm on December 11 found several footprints and traces of a big animal lying in the snow.

The forestry bureau launched a thorough search with more than 1,000 people from December 14 to 19 and found the remains of two wild boars.

The larger boar was missing its internal organs, while the smaller boar, lying more than 10 metres away, was half-eaten.

Wu Zhigang, a research fellow with the Jilin provincial institute of forestry sciences, noted that the population of wild Siberian tigers is on the rise and their range of activities is expanding. The latest survey found 27 Siberian tigers in Jilin.

There is an ecological corridor from the China-Russia border to the Huangnihe nature reserve near the area administered by the Baishishan Forestry Bureau en route to the Tianqiaoling area, he said.

Infrared cameras showed footprints and pictures of the tigers in the Tianqiaoling area last December, where the tigers became extinct in the mid-1980s.

Jilin has banned commercial logging in key state-owned tree farms on April 1 last year, which has improved the living environment for the Siberian tigers.

2. Dynamique d'expansion confirmée en Inde du Sud - Ouest. The Hindu, il y a 3 jours. Mohit M. Rao. "Tigers roar grows louder in Karnataka".

At one point of time, it was the bullet shots of brigand Veerappan that rang through the forest ranges of M.M. Hills and Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuaries. Now, it could finally be the time of the roar of tigers.

At least 15 tigers are believed to inhabit the vast scathes of the 2,000-sq km area of the sanctuaries in Chamarajanagar, according to a study by Nature Conservation Foundation.

Claiming it to be the first time the population of the endangered species has been enumerated in the region, Sanjay Gubbi, conservation biologist who led the camera trapping exercise, says the time is ripe to declare the areas as tiger reserves.

According to the study, 10 to 12 tigers, along with nine cubs below the age of two, were spotted in M.M. Hills, while Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuaries had two male tigers. “What is encouraging is that sub-adult population, cubs below the age of two, were found in M.M. Hills park. This means that there is breeding and a healthy population in the area…These big cat numbers are larger than that in most declared tiger reserves,” Mr. Gubbi said.

The large presence of prey species seen in the camera trap also gives further credence to the viable tiger habitats of the parks. Sambars, wild pig and gaur were found in M.M. Hills; while, chital, four-horned antelope and wild pig dotted the Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuaries, making the landscape suitable for the large cats.

For the tiger, the protected area spread out as verdant, virgin forests. The territory of a large male cat, for instance, was found to be more than 359 sq km, or nearly half the size of Bengaluru.

Apart from the tiger, the study captured 27 species of mammals, while around 15 tuskers were spotted, which was a good sign after Veerappan’s gang had poached many elephants in the area.

Small corridor

M.M. Hills, which borders BRT Tiger Reserve, can serve as a vital sink to absorb the populations of endangered creatures in the park, the study says. However, the migration between the two protected areas was through a narrow 1-km Doddasampige-Yediyaralli forest patch. It was critical for this patch to be protected and expanded, Mr. Gubbi said.

State treading cautiously on tiger reserve proposal

Though the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) had given an in-principal approval for the declaration of the two sanctuaries as a tiger reserve a year ago, the State government has yet to sign it or give its assent. Senior officials in the Department of Forest, Ecology and Environment said the proposal had been kept on hold with the Cabinet believing it “could become a political issue”. Chamarajanagar district in-charge Minister H.S. Mahadeva Prasad said the opinions of locals would be taken before extending complete support for the proposal.

Spotting honey badgers and poachers

The multitude of cameras that dot the Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary not only offered a glimpse of the elusive honey badger, for the first time in Karnataka, but also netted nearly 20 poachers, including Sarvanana, a notorious elephant poacher, said Sanjay Gubbi, who spearheaded the study.

At the end of 2014, when the camera trap exercise was under way, a pair of honey badgers (Mellivora capensis), with their distinctive black and white stripes, were spotted scouring around. Eventually, 41 such records were obtained all across the Cauvery and M.M. Hills wildlife sanctuaries.

The International Union on Conservation of Nature believes that there is a noticeable decline in their population due to poaching and habitat loss. The nocturnal creatures feed on bees as well as small amphibians and rodents.

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7 janvier 2016 4 07 /01 /janvier /2016 15:27

Lors d'une chasse collective aux ongulés sauvages, un chasseur au comportement inconsidéré a eu la chance de rencontrer une tigresse précautionneuse et modérée. Il y a deux jours, dans le Primorye (Province Maritime), des chasseurs se sont emparés d'un sanglier tué et partiellement dévoré par une tigresse, mettant ainsi leur vie et celle des riverains en danger. Fort heureusement, l'animal débonnaire n'a pas cherché à récupérer son bien ou se venger du vol de celle - ci. Un chasseur, qui s'est retrouvé nez à nez avec le félin lui a tiré dessus sans le blesser. L'agresseur s'est retrouvé à l'hopital après une réponse d'avertissement. En Novembre dernier, un tigre avait été légèrement blessé par un individu du même type, qui s'était lui aussi retrouvé à l'hopital... La chasse est désormais interdite dans le secteur, de façon à ce que les membres de l'Inspection Tigres puissent suivre l'évolution du comportement de la tigresse et sécuriser la vie des riverains. Amur Tiger Centre, ce jour.



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6 janvier 2016 3 06 /01 /janvier /2016 15:03

Au moins 30 léopards et 17 tigres en provenance du Primorye (Province Maritime de l'extrême - orient russe) ont franchi la frontière chinoise en 2014, et s'y sont parfois définitivement installés. Les données pour 2015 devraient être bientôt disponibles. Fr. Sputnik, ce jour.


Qu'en est -il de la circulation des grands félins entre Russie, Chine et Corée du Nord? Sur ce blog : le 15 décembre 2015, "Réalité, connaissance" ; le 16 décembre, "Après Vladivostok".

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4 janvier 2016 1 04 /01 /janvier /2016 08:21

L'état de la tigrelle blessée par un chien après des semaines d'errance ("Difficile fin d'année" sur ce blog le 30 décembre dernier) s'améliore progressivement, ont constaté les vétérinaires du Centre de réhabilitation et de réintroduction du Tigre de l'Amour. Vladivostok Times, ce jour.

Чуть не съеденный собаками в Приморье четырехмехмесячный тигренок идет на поправку

Une autre jeune tigresse de quatre mois, vraisemblablement sa soeur, vient d'être recueillie à son tour. Leur mère, qui avait trois enfants, est vraisemblablement décédée. Le troisième orphelin est activement recherché.

Amur Tiger Centre, ce jour.


Siberian Times, ce jour.


Vladivostok Times, le 5 janvier (donnée actualisée).

Еще одного истощенного тигренка нашли в Приморье

ACTUALISATION AU 6 JANVIER : La deuxième tigrelle, récupérée le 4 janvier, est morte dans la nuit du 5 au 6, la famine prolongée et l'hypothermie ayant eu sur elle un impact tel qu'il a eu raison de ses capacités de résilience. Vladivostok Times, 6 janvier, 13h 30.

Второй тигренок, найденный у "Земли леопарда" в Приморье, умер от голода и переохлаждения

Amur Tiger Centre, le même jour.


Siberian Times, le même jour.


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2 janvier 2016 6 02 /01 /janvier /2016 16:21

Dans les Monts Sayan occidentaux (sud - ouest de la Sibérie), un célèbre rocher de granit de 600 tonnes "vibrant", en équilibre instable depuis des dizaines de milliers d'années, va peut être se précipiter dans les eaux noires du lac Raduzhroye ("la perle du Yergaki") situé 1km plus bas.

Une nouvelle crevasse est apparue au sein du rocher en 2012. Celle - ci est susceptible de provoquer la chute du rocher dans le petit lac de 100m de diamètre, ce qui provoquera un tsunami.

Le balancement immémorial du rocher évoque pour les habitants de la région le coeur de la montagne Sayan qui aurait été arraché de sa poitrine par des dieux. Siberian Times, ce jour. Olga Gertcyk & Vera Salnitskaya. Hanging Rock "defies gravity" above a 1000 metre abyss".


Voir aussi, sur ce blog, le 6 décembre dernier : "Un roc, un cap".


Et le 6 juin : "Simplement, un coeur qui bat".


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2 janvier 2016 6 02 /01 /janvier /2016 09:45

Aujourd'hui, plus de mille personnes font la queue pour voir le tigre Amour et le bouc Timour dans leur Parc. Vladivostok Times, ce jour.

Толпа из тысячи желающих посмотреть на Тимура и Амура собралась у Приморского сафари-парка

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31 décembre 2015 4 31 /12 /décembre /2015 09:53

L'OISEAU VOLANT LE PLUS MASSIF AU MONDE TRADUIT LA DIMENSION AERIENNE DU DRAGON VERT. Reconstituer un continuum des populations de grandes outardes du bassin de l'Amour à la péninsule ibérique et le sud de l'angleterre.

Ce que disait de lui Darren Naish le 6 Avril 2010 dans "The great bustard returns".


The Great bustard is a huge bird: males have a wingspan of 2.1-2.5 m and can weigh as much as 18 kg, with 21 kg and 24 kg even claimed for some specimens [the adjacent image shows the life-sized silhouette of a male Great bustard in flight the Great Bustard Trust have in one of their hides]. If you’re familiar with the literature on ‘maximum sizes’ of flying birds, you’ll know that there’s always been some debate as to whether the Great bustard or Kori bustard Ardeotis kori is larger. Most people say Kori because of 19 kg specimens, but (as just mentioned), the Great bustard is claimed to reach similar or even larger sizes. Incidentally, a particularly large 21-kg Manchurian Great bustard was apparently unable to fly: most authors have assumed that it was ‘too heavy to fly’, but this has always bothered me and I’d like to know more about the individual concerned – how do we know that it was definitely flightless, and why should 21 kg be ‘too heavy’? There’s also a claimed record of 34 kg for a Kori (southern african species), and note that some fossil bustards – I’m thinking of Ioriotis gabunii from the Late Pliocene of Kvabebi in Georgia – might have been about a third larger than a male Great bustard (Boev 1999) (arm bone anatomy suggests that Ioriotis was flighted, and not a unique flightless species). The Mute swan Cygnus olor is also sometimes mentioned as ‘heaviest flying bird’ (e.g., Carwardine 1995) as there’s a male from Poland who apparently weighed 22.5 kg. Again, he had – supposedly – temporarily lost the power of flight.

Boev, Z. 1999. Late Pliocene bustards (Aves: Otitidae) from western Bulgaria. Historia naturalis bulgarica 10, 97-108.

Proposition du gouvernement mongol du 19 septembre 2014.


The Government of Mongolia has submitted a proposal for the inclusion of the global population of the Great Bustard (Otis tarda) on CMS Appendix I for the consideration of the 11th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP11), 4-9 November 2014, Quito, Ecuador.

The proposal is reproduced under this cover for a decision on its approval or rejection by the Conference of the Parties.

The Government of Mongolia has made some amendments to the original proposal and has subsequently submitted the revised version enclosed.

A. PROPOSAL: To list the global population of Great Bustard, Otis tarda, on Appendix I

B. PROPONENT: Government of Mongolia

Common name(s): Great Bustard, Abetarda-comum, Avutarda, Grande Outarde, Großtrappe, Túzok,Дрохва,Дуадақ, ХонинТоодог, Дрофа, 大鸨

2. Biological data

2.1 Distribution

2.1.1 Current distribution

The Great Bustard breeds at discrete, traditional display sites (leks) across Eurasia from Portugal to Manchuria (Figure 1; Butchart & Symes 2014). The northern limits of this breeding range currently include the UK, Germany and northern Kazakhstan. The current southern limit of the Great Bustard’s breeding range is described by northern Morocco, Turkey, and Nei Mongol in the People’s Republic of China. This breeding distribution is characterized by a high degree of fragmentation, particularly outside of Iberia and the southwestern Russian Federation.

Irruptive movements bring Great Bustards in central Europe into countries of southern Europe. Populations in Turkey and eastward through Eurasia make regular migrations to distinct wintering grounds as far south as the Syrian Arab Republic, and Anhui Province of China.

2.1.2 Historic distribution

Whereas the current distribution of Great Bustards is characterized in most portions of its range by small, disjunct populations, this species was once found more continuously across the steppe and desert-steppe belt of Eurasia, as well as North Africa and throughout cereal agriculture in western Europe. Breeding populations of Great Bustards were extirpated from Algeria, the Balkans, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, France, Poland, Romania, the Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, Tunisia, and the UK (where they were reintroduced in 2004), in the 19th and 20th centuries. The number of distinct breeding populations (leks) as well as the number of individuals within remaining leks has decreased in areas of central and eastern Europe, the Middle East (Turkey and Iran), Kazakhstan and east Asia (the southeastern Russian Federation, Mongolia China).

As a result of these declines in breeding populations, Great Bustards now only rarely visit countries of the Middle East, Caucasus and Central Asia where they once regularly overwintered.

Subspecies: The nominate subspecies Otis tarda tarda is found from Portugal through Xinjiang, China. O. t. dybowskii inhabits areas east of the Altai Mountain range, in the southeastern Russian Federation, Mongolia and eastern China.

2.2 Population

The global population of the Great Bustard is estimated between 44,000 and 57,000 individuals (Alonso and Palacín 2010). The majority (57-70%) of this population is found in the Iberian Peninsula, with the second largest population center (15-25%) located in the southwestern Russian Federation. These populations are relatively stable.

Populations in central Europe representing 3-4% of the world’s Great Bustards, which have been listed under Appendix I of CMS via the Memorandum of Understanding on the Middle-European Population of Great Bustard, are increasing.

However, across the greater part of this species’ distribution, populations are declining. Over the past fifty years, rapid declines have occurred in the eastern half of the species range, where Great Bustards have been completely eliminated from many regions.

There is particular concern for the eastern subspecies of Great Bustard (O. t. dybowskii), of which only 1,200-2,000 individuals are estimated to remain in the southeastern Russian Federation, Mongolia, and eastern China (Chan and Goroshko 1998, Tseveenmyadag 2001, Alonso and Palacín 2010). These remnant populations are declining, isolated, and suffer from a lack of genetic diversity (Tian et al. 2006). Increasing threats to these populations are observed as infrastructure is developed and human settlement increases in these regions of Asia.

2.3 Habitat

Great Bustards are historically a species of open grasslands, breeding in steppe and desert-steppe zones of Eurasia as well as portions of northern Africa. The species expanded into Western Europe as forests were cleared for agriculture (Isakov 1974). Today, agricultural fields are the only available breeding habitat for Great Bustards in some areas. Active, fallow, and abandoned cereal fields are used by the species, where they feed primarily on insects and non-cereal vegetation(Lane et al. 1999, Bravo et al. 2013). The eastern subspecies is notable for its use of forest edges and small forest clearings as well as pastured grassland and cereal agricultural mosaics (Goroshko 1999, Kessler in litt.).

Wintering habitat is similar to breeding habitat. Great Bustards in agricultural fields feed on cereal stubble or alfalfa at this time of year(Lane et al. 2001).

2.4 Migrations and international movements

Great Bustards display a variety of migratory patterns across their broad geographic range, with length and duration of migration generally increasing longitudinally from west to east. This migratory behaviour and other patterns of movement (e.g. dispersal of young birds) frequently involve the crossing of one or more international borders.

Iberian populations are partially migratory, exhibiting an assortment of short seasonal movements of 10-200 km distance (Alonso et al. 2000, 2001). There was likely once regular genetic exchange between populations in Spain, Portugal and Morocco (Broderick et al. 2003), but dispersal especially to Morocco has diminished as populations on both sides of the Strait of Gibraltar have reduced (Alonso et al. 2009a).

Populations in central Europe tend towards sedentary behaviour, but facultative migrations of up to 650 km have been recorded in response to severe winter weather, bringing these birds to States in southern Europe (Block 1996, Streich et al. 2006). Within central Europe, non-migratory movements regularly result in these birds crossing international borders.

Through satellite tracking, it has been determined that female Great Bustards breeding in the south west of the Russian Federation regularly migrate 1,100 km over the course of one week to overwinter in Ukraine (Oparina et al. 2001). During the breeding season, there is likely exchange between these breeding populations and those in western Kazakhstan.

Historically, Great Bustards also migrated from the south west of the Russian Federation, and possibly western Kazakhstan, along the western shore of the Caspian to overwinter in significant numbers in Azerbaijan and Iran. Now such movements are rare (Patrikeev 2004, Rabiee and Moghaddas 2008).Though Syrian breeding populations have likely been extirpated, Great Bustards breeding or wintering in Iran and Turkey probably move into Iraq and the Syrian Arab Republic (Tareh 2000).

Historically, Great Bustards in Kazakhstan and Tajikistan migrated southward into Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan to overwinter (Bostanzhoglo 1911, Gubin 2010). They are now rarely sighted on these wintering grounds, due to severe declines in the Great Bustard population of Kazakhstan and its extirpation in Tajikistan (Meklenburtsev et al. 1990). Today, Great Bustards wintering in south Kazakhstan irruptively migrate into Uzbekistan during harsh winter conditions (Kreitsberg-Mukhina 2003).

Results of satellite telemetry have revealed that females of the Asian subspecies of Great Bustard (O. t. dybowskii) breeding in north-central Mongolia take two months to migrate 2000 km into Shaanxi Province of China, making use of multiple stopovers (Kessler et al. 2013). These females move nomadically across a broad wintering range. Great Bustards in the south east of the Russian Federation probably make similar migrations through Mongolia into China.

Many Great Bustard leks in the south east of the Russian Federation and northern Mongolia are located close to the international border. These birds most likely intermittently cross the border for forage or to find desired habitat. It is probable that dispersal events once frequently occurred across this border.

It is worth noting that differences in migratory behaviour across the wide distribution of the Great Bustard appear to be distinct features of local populations, representing adaptations to local climate and geography. Priority should be placed on maintaining local populations of Great Bustards, as programmes involving the translocation of birds may face difficulty in this regard.

3. Threat data

3.1 Direct threats

3.1.1 Collision with overhead cabling

As large birds with low manoeuverability in flight, Great Bustards are highly vulnerable to collision with overhead cabling (Janss and Ferrer 2000, Raab et al. 2010). Mortalities due to collisions are reported across the species’ annual range, and are expected to increase in Asia as infrastructure and industry develop. In Central Europe, international cooperation under the auspices of the Memorandum of Understanding on Middle-European Populations has resulted in the marking and burying of cables that affect neighbouring populations.

3.1.2 Hunting

Great Bustards are almost universally protected from hunting across their distribution. However, over the past fifty years, uncontrolled, illegal hunting has been a major cause of decline and even extermination of local populations of this slow-reproducing species in the central and eastern portions of its range (Chan and Goroshko 1998, Heunks et al. 2001). Poaching on both breeding and wintering grounds represents a serious threat to the survival of Great Bustard populations breeding in Turkey, Kazakhstan, the south east Russian Federation and Mongolia. The development of a more extensive paved road network in rural Asia has facilitated the travel of urban hunters to rural areas.

On migratory and wintering areas in China, Great Bustards suffer from the indiscriminate poisoning of wild birds for supply of meat to “wild foods” restaurants (Shi 2008; Chan & Goroshko 1998, Kessler in litt.). Great Bustards breeding in the south east of the Russian Federation, Mongolia and northern China use this migratory pathway.

3.1.3 Destruction of eggs and chicks

Great Bustards are ground-nesting birds with a naturally low reproductive rate. In Spain, a ten-year study found an average of 0.15 chicks produced per breeding female per year (Morales et al. 2002). Nests in natural grassland suffer from predation by corvids and canines, whose abundance may be artificially elevated around human population points. In addition, wildfires, both natural and anthropogenic, destroy nests in Asian steppe habitat. In areas used as pasture, livestock sometimes trample Great Bustard nests.

Great Bustard clutches in agricultural fields are often destroyed by agricultural machinery. In Spain, pre-hatching mortality was found to be 50% and post-hatching mortality 57%, due largely to being crushed by machinery (Ena et al. 1987). Nests that are not directly crushed may be predated by corvids which observe the flushed female. The provision of incentives to farmers to accommodate Great Bustard nests during key periods is carried out in some areas of Europe (Lóránt et al. 2013).

3.1.4 Indirect poisoning

Accidental poisoning of Great Bustards by agricultural chemicals and rodenticides is occasionally reported throughout the range of the species (e.g., Puzanskii 2000, Oparin et al. 2013).

3.2 Habitat destruction

Great Bustards require large annual territories used at low levels of development. Habitat destruction, fragmentation, and agricultural intensification have been major factors in declines of western populations of Great Bustard, and are likely to become greater factors in eastern populations as well.

3.2.1 Declining quality of breeding habitat

Timing of use of agricultural machinery, and the intensification of agricultural production are major habitat-quality threats on breeding grounds, as described in “3.1.3 – Destruction of eggs and chicks” and “3.3.1 – Agricultural chemical use.” For bustards inhabiting natural grasslands, overgrazing decreases quality of forage and increases the risk of the trampling of nests.

Great Bustards are a lekking species, which perform breeding displays and nest at traditional lek sites. Due to strong philopatry (Alonso and Alonso 1992, Alonso et al. 2000), males may continue to display and females to nest at a lek site despite conversion to inappropriate habitat, with resultant high mortality and/or low breeding success that may drive the local population to extinction.

3.2.2 Declining quality of migratory stopovers and wintering areas

Eastern European and Asian populations of Great Bustard, which perform long-distance movements, require large areas of open grassland or agricultural land for foraging during migration and wintering. Increasing human population density and activity decrease the quality of habitat through disturbance. Installation of overhead cabling creates risk of fatal collisions.

3.2.3 Disturbance

Great Bustards are exceptionally wary and sensitive to human disturbance, exhibiting fleeing distances from 500 to 1,500 metres (Gewalt 1959). This trait is exaggerated in areas where they are persecuted by humans. Unsuitable levels of even benign human activity can cause Great Bustards to abandon otherwise suitable habitat.

3.3 Indirect threats

3.3.1 Agricultural chemical use

The use of pesticides and herbicides on agricultural fields where Great Bustards nest reduces the food base necessary for growth of Great Bustard chicks (Bravo et al. 2013). Male chicks are particularly vulnerable to limited food supply, as they have higher growth rates due to the species’ high degree of sexual dimorphism (Martín et al. 2007).

Rates of chemical application are likely to increase in Eastern Europe and Asia. Yet, Great Bustard chicks in these areas are under greater pressure for rapid growth, as the more severe climate in these areas requires that nesting begin later in spring, and also demands that chicks be prepared for long-distance migration in the fall, including the crossing of international borders (Kessler et al. 2013).

3.3.2 Loss of genetic diversity

Increasing isolation of remnant Great Bustard leks, especially in Morocco and the Asian portion of the species’ distribution, has a negative impact on genetic diversity (Tian et al. 2006, Alonso et al. 2009a). There is concern about loss of unique genetic characteristics of the Asian subspecies, which numbers less than 2,000 individuals (Alonso and Palacín 2010).

3.3.3 Climate change

As large, heavy birds, male Great Bustards are sensitive to high temperatures (Alonso et al. 2009b). Climate simulations suggest that much of the Great Bustard’s current range in Europe will become unsuitable in the late 21st century. Huntley et al. (2007) find that suitable habitat will shift out of Western Europe into areas of Eastern Europe and Sweden which the species does not currently inhabit. Osborne et al. (2008) find that suitable habitat will persist in northwest Spain and Turkey, but additionally shift into France, Poland, and the Baltic states, where the Great Bustard is not currently found. It is uncertain how this highly philopatric species will adjust to changes in climate.

3.4 Threats connected especially with migrations and movements

Partial migrations performed in Western Europe, facultative irruptions in Central Europe, and regular migrations performed from Turkey eastward all expose Great Bustards to threats over a large spatial scale, including collision with overhead cabling, hunting, poisoning and habitat degradation (Yan 1982, Chan and Goroshko 1998, Oparin et al. 2003, Andryushchenko and Popenko 2012). In many regions, non-migratory patterns of movement also result in the crossing of international borders, exposing these birds to different conditions and threats.

The prolonged migration performed by the Asian subspecies, which involves use of multiple stopovers, crossing of international borders, and nomadic behaviour on wintering grounds, puts its entire population at particular risk. In a tagged cohort of female Asian Great Bustards, all observed mortalities have occurred on the migration pathway and wintering grounds (Kessler, unpublished data). Further, climate change is expanding the extent of the Gobi Desert (Wang et al. 2008), which is a obstacle for the migration of these Great Bustards.

In both facultative and regular long-distance migrating populations of Great Bustard, there appears to be a tendency for females to migrate more often or further than males. Since Great Bustards are a lekking species in which females are solely responsible for incubation and rearing of chicks, increased mortality of females on the migration pathway has the potential to have a great impact on population growth.

High levels of mortality were previously encountered during irruptive migration events in Central Europe. With the listing of these middle-European populations on Appendix I, a system of communication was developed between Range States hosting breeding populations and Range States which periodically receive irruptive migrants. This allows these southern states to better ensure appropriate conditions for the bustards’ survival.

Listing of the entire population of Great Bustard under Appendix I could promote growth in currently stable populations in the Iberian Peninsula, while slowing alarming declines in populations outside of Europe. Raising the international conservation profile of this species also has potential to affect conservation action in Range States which are non-signatories. Improvement in migratory breeding populations has the potential to restore wintering populations that have disappeared from the Middle East, Caucasus and Central Asian countries over the past century.

3.5 National and international utilization

In the past, international trade in Great Bustard feathers resulted in the listing of this species on Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). This trade has largely been halted.

As described above in “3.1.2 – Hunting,” Great Bustards are pursued particularly in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. Reasons for hunting include sport, meat for personal use or trade, and curiosity about this rare bird as it is sighted on irregular stopovers. An international component to this persecution exists in the form of sport hunters arriving to Asian Range States from Western Europe and the Arabian Peninsula to pursue this species.

4. Protection status and needs

4.1 National protection status

The Great Bustard is red-listed across most of its range, at levels from Vulnerable to Extinct.

4.2 International protection status

The Great Bustard is considered as Vulnerable in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The IUCN Bustard Specialist Group unanimously endorses this proposal for listing global populations of Great Bustard on CMS Appendix I.

4.2.1 Coherence with CITES

The Great Bustard is listed on Appendix II of CITES. International trade is controlled across the species’ range. This listing has been successful in largely halting international trade in the species’ feathers, which were once used for fly fishing.

Factors gravely threatening populations of Great Bustard, which are not related to international trade, are detailed above in Section 3. These include collisions with overhead cabling, hunting and destruction of eggs, chicks, and habitat degradation and loss. Listing of the entire population of Great Bustard under Appendix I would be an appropriate mechanism to coordinate knowledge-sharing and international efforts to reduce these threats.

4.2.2 Coherence with the Birds Directive

The Great Bustard is listed on Annex I of the European Union’s Birds Directive. The Directive has supported the designation of protected areas, including 141 Special Protection Areas that hold the Great Bustard as a designation feature. The Directive also protects Great Bustards through a ban on hunting. LIFE projects providing €10 million over the last decade have focused on conservation work for the species.

Listing the global population of Great Bustards on Appendix I of CMS is consistent with the EU Birds Directive. Within Europe, this listing will further facilitate protection and restoration of habitat and help to prevent, remove or minimize the adverse effects of activities or obstacles that seriously impede or prevent the migration of the species.

Importantly, this listing will also provide a mechanism for sharing of knowledge about best practices for protection of Great Bustards (e.g., methods of marking overhead cabling; the development of cooperative agreements with farmers to ensure compatibility of the agricultural schedule with Great Bustard breeding) developed via EU projects with non-EU Range States.

4.2.3 Coherence with CMS

Currently, the global population of Great Bustard is listed on Appendix II of the CMS.

Some populations of Great Bustard are protected on Appendix I through a Memorandum of Understanding. Range States are convened for formal meetings and have developed an international species action plan (Nagy 2009). Joint action includes coordinated census programmes and cooperation to eliminate threats to neighbouring populations (e.g., burying overhead cables).

Yet, the condition of populations of Great Bustard breeding in the Middle East, Central and East Asia, as well as North Africa, is considerably worse than that in middle Europe. Central Asia now holds only 300 individuals (Mityaev and Yashchenko 2006), as does Turkey (Karakaş and Akarsu 2009). Eastern Asian populations, which comprise a distinct subspecies, contain approximately 2,000 individuals (Alonso and Palacín 2010). About 100 individuals remain in Morocco (Hellmich and Idaghdour 2002). Threats to these populations are increasing with industrial and agricultural development, and expansion of the human population. As populations from portions of the range within and east of Turkey are regular, long-distance migrants, the extirpation of local breeding populations also means reductions or elimination of stopover or wintering populations in adjacent countries. Listing of the entire species of Great Bustard under Appendix I would help to coordinate protection of these populations.

The Central Asian Flyway Action Plan provides protection to migratory waterbirds across their annual ranges in Central Asia (Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species 2005). Listing of the entire species of Great Bustard under Appendix I would provide similar protection for this dryland migrant in this region.

4.3 Additional protection needs

4.3.1 Direct protection

Collisions with cabling: Key Great Bustard movement corridors, including stretches of cabling causing mortality should be identified. Marking of overhead cabling, or ideally, burying or re-routing of cables from known sensitive areas, should be undertaken to reduce mortality (Raab et al. 2012). The potential of cabling to cause Great Bustard mortality should be explicitly considered in large-scale industrial developments in areas where populations are critically low.

Hunting: Elimination of hunting along the migration pathway is critical to the stabilization of migratory Great Bustard populations. However, adequate enforcement of hunting bans is challenging in rural areas of the Middle East, Central and Eastern Asia. Targeted public awareness campaigns should be undertaken in these areas to raise concern and reduce hunting among local people. Where illegal sport hunting by foreign citizens occurs, fines for foreign citizens should be increased. Prohibitions in sale of wild-caught game, which is also dangerous to consumers of meat from poisoned birds, should be better enforced at markets and restaurants.

Destruction of eggs and chicks: The timing of agricultural activities, and of Great Bustard nesting, varies across its broad Eurasian distribution. In breeding habitat outside of the EU, where such measures have already been implemented, research should be undertaken to assess the degree of compatibility between agricultural practices and Great Bustard breeding. EU states can play a valuable role in sharing knowledge and experience in developing appropriate subsidy schemes to provide high-quality breeding habitat.

4.3.2 Habitat protection

Protected areas: Across the Middle East, Central and eastern Asia, surveys should be undertaken to clarify lek sites. Where possible, satellite tracking would improve understanding of migratory routes. Leks, key migratory stopover sites, and wintering grounds hosting important populations of Great Bustard should be officially protected and, where necessary, backed up with enhanced anti-poaching enforcement and disturbance-reduction measures.

Subsidies for low-intensity agriculture: Agricultural intensification has played a major role in Great Bustard declines worldwide. State subsidies should provide incentives to maintain agricultural habitat in suitable condition for breeding Great Bustards. For example, where relevant, these incentives should discourage the use of agricultural chemicals that destroy the food base necessary for the growth of chicks or encourage the use of fallow periods to lessen disturbance. EU Range States with experience in such agricultural policy should share information on successful strategies to other Range States.

4.3.3 International communication

This listing will facilitate regular communication between Range States across the broad distribution of the Great Bustard. It will encourage information sharing from Range States with experience in Great Bustard conservation measures (e.g., States participating in the Memorandum of Understanding on Middle-European Populations) on best practices.

Turkey, the Russian Federation and China are non-Party Range States hosting important migratory Great Bustard populations. Communication and cooperation on conservation planning for Great Bustards should be pursued with these States, and ideally, agreements on conservation measures signed.

Severe winter weather occasionally precipitates migration of Great Bustards into countries in which they have not regularly occurred in contemporary times (e.g. southern Europe, Uzbekistan). Communication protocols between wildlife monitors should be established such that appropriate Range States are aware of potential irruptions and prepared to increase anti-poaching enforcement in appropriate areas.

4.3.3 Additional measures

Genetic diversity: When prioritizing conservation actions in regions with low genetic diversity, precautions should be taken to maintain genetic connectivity between extant Great Bustard populations. Urgent measures should be taken to improve the condition of the Asian subspecies, which suffers from low levels of genetic diversity.

Climate change: Modelling of shifts of suitable habitat in the Asian portion of the Great Bustard’s range under climate change scenarios should be undertaken. Conservation planning should place special emphasis on areas likely to maintain suitability for Great Bustard habitation under climate change conditions.

5. Range States



Great Bustards appear as vagrants in some of these countries. In others, they continue to overwinter, leading to their listing also as Active Range States.

Reintroduction: UNITED KINGDOM


Single vagrants or small populations occasionally reach many other countries, particularly during facultative migration due to severe weather events.

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30 décembre 2015 3 30 /12 /décembre /2015 15:52

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