Great Bustard Conservation

The Great Bustard is one of the heaviest species capable of flight. This species is considered globally Vulnerable by IUCN due to past population declines and projected declines of 30% over the next ten years. There is particular concern about Central Asian populations of Great Bustards, which have experienced sharp declines in recent times.

Mongolia plays a key role in the conservation of the Asian subspecies of Great Bustard, Otis tarda dybowskii. Only 2000 individuals of this subspecies are estimated to remain.

Our goal is to identify causes of declines and best practices for conservation of this poorly understood subspecies, which differs from the European subspecies in aspects of its natural history. We use satellite telemetry to trace migratory routes, track habitat use, and carry out longitudinal studies of individual birds to identify causes of mortality.

Our teamís research thus far (begun in 2006) has indicated that poaching, nest destruction and land-use change are key threats to the Great Bustards in Mongolia. This species is especially vulnerable to poaching as populations reliably gather in traditional spots each year for breeding. Half of the deaths of our marked birds have been due to poaching - a clear indication that poaching is an issue that should be addressed urgently in Mongolia to save this endangered species.

We engage local people in all aspects of our work and carry out programs for schoolchildren to encourage interest and pride in the conservation of this and other bird species.

This research is carried out in collaboration with Mimi Kessler from Arizona State University and has received the support of numerous sponsors, including the Disney Conservation Fund in 2009.

Click here to visit the projectís website maintained by Mimi for detailed information.

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Wildlife Science and Conservation Center
Undram Plaza, Office 404
Bayanzurkh District
Ulaanbaatar, 210351

Telephone: +976-11-70157886
Fax: +976-11-70157886

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