LIFE is 30 podcast with LIFE Great Bustard
Find out more about LIFE and the successful protection of the Great Bustard in the podcast Episode II – Roots in nature https://europa.eu/!PT8xF8
Alarming decline of the Great Bustard world population over the last two decades
In Austria, the Great Bustard population has declined from about 700-800 individuals in the mid-20th century (1942) to 150-170 in the early 1970s (1970-1972) and to about 100 individuals in the late 1970s (1978). At the end of the century approx. 60 individuals could be recorded. Thanks to conservation efforts, the population has been able to recover in recent years. During the 2014 breeding season, around 320 individuals were recorded in the Weinviertel and in the cross-border breeding area in western Hungary. In the 2021 winter census, 620 individuals were counted in the western Pannonian area and 1,553 individuals in the eastern Pannonian area.
In addition to Austria, an increase in the population in Germany and Hungary was also recorded thanks to conservation efforts. However, the world population has been declining at an annual rate of 3.23% since 2005. The current worldwide population is estimated at 31,000–36,000 individuals, 34% (range 30–38%) fewer than 16 years ago.
Results of the synchronous winter count of the Great Bustard in Central Europe 2022
Results of the synchronous winter count of the Great Bustard in Central Europe in January 2022 within the LIFE project “Great Bustard”: Efforts to protect the great bustard are showing success throughout Central Europe.
Full report here.
Landesausstellung NÖ 2022 - Schloss Marchegg
Exhibition of data from the LIFE Great Bustard project
Data from the LIFE Great Bustard project will also be shown during the Lower Austria state exhibition. The distribution of the West Pannonian population of the Great Bustard and its development in recent decades is shown here.
The exhibition will run until the 13.11.2022.
Half a century great bustard protection
A recent article published on the webpage of the Ministry of Agriculture praising great bustard nature conservation efforts, as it is the 50th anniversary of great bustard being protected in Hungary.
Deputy state secretary of nature conservation, Bertalan Balczó emphasized systematic protection efforts and habitat protection through agriculture based payment schemes and cooperation between sectors. Based on such conservation efforts Hungarian great bustard population exceeds 1600 individuals. This is a significant result, as the population size was only half of the current population 50 years ago.
The article of the Ministry highlights the Great Bustard Rescue Centre at Dévaványa, established in 1978. This centre was originally set up to handle and hatch rescued eggs of the speciesand repatriate chicks to the wild, but its role in great bustard conservation have expanded since - - especially after the establishment of Kösös-Maros National Park Directorate.
Great bustard protection is a complex acitivity, for the coordination and strategic approach Great Bustard Working Goup was established involving related governmental and non-governmental organisations. . Conservation work is supported by large-scale projects such as the ongoing LIFE project "Cross-border protection of the Great Bustard in Central Europe". In addition to scientific activities and direct nature conservation interventions, the conservation work is carried out in cooperation with stakeholders - - electricity providers, game managers and farmers. The joint great bustard population of the Carpathian basin (Hungarian, Austrian, Slovakian, Romanian and Serbian populations) exceeds 2200 individuals. The protection is well established scientifically and well organized, the conservation sector and its partners know the steps to be taken in order to protect the species in the long run.
The original article: Ministry of Agriculture (in Hungarian)
Results of the “2nd Synchronous Winter Count of the Great Bustard in Central Europe"
Results of the “2nd Synchronous Winter Count of the Great Bustard in Central Europe on the 17th & 18th of January 2021” within the LIFE project “Great Bustard”
(extended period 11th – 24th of January 2021)
Efforts to protect the great bustard are showing success throughout Central Europe
Please click here to see the whole repoprt.
Results of the second synchronous winter count of the Great Bustard in Central Europe on the 17th & 18th of January 2021
Results of the second synchronous winter count of the Great Bustard in Central Europe on the 17th & 18th of January 2021 (counting period 11th – 24th of January 2021) within the LIFE project “Great Bustard”: Efforts to protect the great bustard are showing success throughout Central Europe.
For many years the breeding population of the great bustard in Central Europe have been recorded by the bustard specialists in winter. In 2017 it was possible for the first time to count in all 7 countries (Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Romania, Serbia and Slovakia) with potential breeding occurrences of the great bustard on the same day. 1,751 Great Bustards were recorded, whereby in the Eastern Pannonian part only 69% of the individuals could be recorded on this day, and not the otherwise usual 90 to 95%. In the years 2018 to 2020, despite several efforts, it was not possible to implement synchronous counts in all countries. The reason for this was the mostly mild winters and the resulting impassable dirt roads, which mostly prevented a census of the East Pannonian population.
In 2021, the period of the counting was therefore significantly extended in order to be able to record at least 90% of the individuals actually occurring throughout Central Europe. The census was mainly carried out on January 17th and 18th, but other results from January 11th to 24th, 2021 were also evaluated.
The results of the synchronous censuses in winter show that the population of the Great Bustard in Central Europe has increased by approx. 22% in the last 4 years (2017-2021). The strongest relative increase was in the German population, which increased by approx. 59% (from 221 to 352 individuals). The West Pannonian population has grown by approx. 34% (from 463 to 620 individuals) and the East Pannonian population has probably increased by approx. 16% in real terms, from an estimated 1,388 (on the day of counting itself only 1,067 Great Bustards could be counted) 1,553 individuals.
Fortunately, the protection efforts in almost all Central European countries with great bustard occurrences are already showing short-term success. The measures to reduce collisions on power lines as part of the LIFE project “Great Bustard” are expected to lead to a further increase in the population, especially in the medium and long term. How much the three sub-populations will actually increase depends primarily on the quality of the habitat (thus primarily on agricultural measures), but of course also on the populations of the predators e.g. red fox, raccoon dog, sea eagle and imperial eagle.
Five healthy great bustard chicks have already hatched in Dévaványa
This year's first bustard chicks hatched at the Great Bustard Conservation Station of the Körös-Maros National Park Directorate recently. Caregivers feed and walk the five flaky little chicks every day.
Great bustard eggs rescued from the first endangered nests arrived at the Station in mid-April. So far, experts have delivered ten endangered eggs from the KMNP and two from more remote areas.
Within the framework of the LIFE project entitled “Cross-border protection of Great Bustard in Central Europe”, the National Park Directorate could procure new, modern hatcheries. This year's chicks have already been hatched in these facilities. The other bustard eggs are also constantly monitored at the Conservation Station and we are confident that the number of successfully hatching chicks will soon increase further.
The young birds will then be reared on the Directorate’s 400-acre Great Bustard Conservation Area and will be gradually released according to the practice of previous decades.
Article in the NÖN Hollabrunn
On July 18th 2019 a short article about the visit of the Bustard observation tower at the Wartberger church by the regional councilor Schleritzko was published.
NÖN - Artikel (jpeg, 221 KB)
Article about the golden Jackal and the influence on the Great Bustard in Kurier
On March 20th 2019 an interesting article about the golden jackal and the influence on the Great Bustard is published in Kurier.
Kurier Article (pdf, 147 KB)