Conservation of raptors in Batumi Flyway, Ajara Region, Georgia

Alexander Rukhaia

The Batumi Bottleneck is a spectacular destination and raptor flight there is very diverse. At least 35 different species of raptors have been observed migrating through the region. Unfortunately this migration process is affected by massive killing of birds and indiscriminate hunting and falconry, a deeply rooted tradition in rural communities. Monitoring and regular field surveys carried out annually since 2012 have collected highly valuable data and show that over 12,000 raptors get shot every year during spring and autumn migration seasons. The tradition of killing raptors, which is illegal according to the international and national legislation, has long been prevalent in the region, but the scale, impacts and drivers of this activity are yet poorly understood.

For the prevention of this conflict between human and nature, we have chosen a method of cooperation and collaboration with local communities, rather than confrontation, which is a more effective approach that will deliver a win-win situation in the long-term.

The methods and main components of this project are:

(1) Systematic field monitoring and case study;

(2) Engagement of local communities and relevant (governmental and non-governmental) project stakeholders in conservation planning and further implementation processes; and

(3) Raising awareness and education.