“Renewing People-Raptor Ties Through Community Based Initiatives.”
Raptors or birds-of-prey play a prominent role in human culture. Among several traditional societies, eagles are spiritual symbols of divine protection and charismatic representation of desirable human traits such as courage, firmness and leadership. The Japanese Tengu, for example, legendary creatures in Japanese folk religion that takes the form of birds-of-prey, can be spirits or deities that protect people and forests. In ancient Japanese paintings, hawks and eagles are popular symbols of military prowess such as that of a Samurai. The Garuda of Hindu and Buddhist mythology bears eagle symbolism which in Indonesia is rendered in a heraldic style like the actual traits of the Javan Hawk Eagle, the country's national bird. In the Philippines, the Philippine eagle is a symbol of prowess at war and foresight among several Indigenous peoples of its southern islands. These cultural ties elicit human attachments which are important nutriments to healthy people-and-nature relations.
Unfortunately, people's attitudes towards raptors are not always positive. At the northern Philippines for example, hundreds of migrating Grey-faced buzzards are slaughtered for food at their roost sites. In Nagaland, thousands of Amur falcons migrating in 2012 were butchered by locals who regarded the bird multitudes as like "manna dropping down the heaven." Several non-migrating raptors are persecuted too either through shooting, hunting or habitat destruction. But there are good reasons for hope. Community-managed annual raptor festivals in Taiwan and Thailand for instance demonstrate how people and migrating raptors can maintain a harmonious co-existence. In Nagaland, local apathy has been replaced by care and concern in just a matter of two years because of advocacy, education and grassroots conservation. Several equally inspiring community-based raptor conservation program across Asia exist. Indeed, positive human attitudes can be developed within a human lifetime.
This conference highlights how support to community-based actions can result to healthy people-raptor relationships. Raptor well-being reflects human well-being. As the great spiritual leader Mahatma Gandhi had said "the greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated."
We accept oral and poster presentations on several aspects of resident and migratory raptors including research, site conservation, advocacy, education, citizen science, tourism and policy that are relevant to the 2017 symposium theme. However, presentations outside of this theme could be accepted too.