Working in affected countires...
The Lugger Falcon is facing mass decline over their entire wild range across the Indian Subcontinent. Whilst accurate data is hard to come by, it is estimated as little as 10,000 to 20,000 individuals remain in the wild.
The inhumane practice referred to as 'Barak', where wild Luggers are illegally trapped and used as live bait for larger falcons to sell for the Arab market, results in large numbers of Lugger Falcons dying every year. Combined with continued habitat loss, persecution of their preferred prey item and extensive use of the harmful DDT pesticide, the future of Lugger Falcons in the wild is very much under threat.
Aims and Objectives
The aims of the Project are exceedingly simple in their aim and extremely difficult in their execution. We want to halt the decline of the species and where possible, only when circumstances permit, help with species management.
In the UK and Europe, through monitored domestic breeding we are building a diverse gene pool, to form a future healthy and stable safety net population, should the situation arise where re-population in the affected countries is necessary.
Establishing strong and respected relationships with the authorities and locals in Pakistan and in future, with other affected countries, is a crucial objective in creating a sustainable environment for wild Lugger Falcons.
Continued trips, meetings and exchanges in Pakistan has led to a strong presence for Project Lugger in the area, and is something that we intend to build on in the coming years.
Project Lugger is primarily based in the UK, where a number of bird of prey centres work with and fly Lugger Falcons, raising awareness and vital funds with the visiting public, as well as facilitating many of the breeding pairs within the project. In 2021 new connections are being made with partners in Europe and further afield, for research, education and active conservation in the areas where Lugger Falcons are most under threat.
"As the founder and current chairman, I cannot put into words
how much the success of this Project has meant to me"
Project Lugger was founded in May 2017 when I found discovered that the Lugger Falcon population was declining at an alarming rate and that nothing was being done to halt it. I felt it would be very difficult for one person or a small group of people to make a difference, but something had to be done. So the project came into being. Fortunately, the work of the project seemed to touch the hearts of a great many people, both falconers and conservationists, and the project rapidly grew into the charitable organisation that it is today.
The project has carried out fieldwork in both India and Pakistan and has built very good working relationships, particularly so in the case of Pakistan. As the founder and current chairman of the Project I cannot put into words how much the success of this project has meant to me personally. In fact I would go as far as to say that on my last trip to Pakistan I was fortunate enough to release three Lugger Falcons back into the wild. These Luggers had been destined to be used as live bait to trap other falcons. Releasing them from my hands back into the wild are genuinely the most meaningful moments of my life.