How to make 2.5 billion termites disappear? A case for protecting the Amur Falcon

  • Henk Bouwman
  • Craig Symes
  • Hannalene du Plessis


The sudden and shocking discovery of the large scale harvesting of Amur Falcons Falco amurensis in India (Conservation India 2012; Figures 1-3) has, inter alia, raised the issue of why conservation of migratory species is so important. A 120 000 - 140 000 depletion in 2012 (probably occurring since 2006 at variable rates) of the global population of an estimated 50 000-1 million birds (various sources) is an impact that should be recognized as of great concern. Apart from a global biodiversity and conservation perspective, the migratory behaviour of this species (Symes and Woodborne 2010) also means that its predatory nature may have consequences in its breeding and non-breeding areas. In South Africa, the website houses the collated roosting count data for this species since 2005/06. The maximum number for a coordinated January count for South Africa was 114 000 from 17 roosts in 2009 (Anon 2012). Many more roosts are known but are not counted, so the actual numbers in South Africa are no doubt much higher.


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