U.C.R.'s Science Advisory Board

U.C.R.’s Science Advisory Board is chosen from a distinguished, international community of biologists, field researchers, and program mangers. The Science Advisory Board, comprised of Science Directors and Science Advisors, has experience developing strategies and institutions that harmonize socio-economic realities with today’s urgent, ecological imperatives of authentic sustainable development programs.

Dr. David H. Ellis
Exploring Outer Mongolia, circa 2001

Dr. David H. Ellis is a field associate of the U.C.R.'s Science Advisory Board. As a research ecologist, he has studied raptors and cranes worldwide for nearly 40 years. Dr. Ellis is the author of over 150 publications. A true “naturalist” in the traditional sense, his scientific curiosity draws him to the most remote and desolate places on earth, to witness and interpret the spectacle of our natural world.

Dr. Peter Lindberg

Dr. Peter Lindberg is working as a research biologist at the University of Göteborg, Sweden and as a project manager at the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation, Stockholm. During the past 40 years he has been engaged in nature conservation, and he is responsible for the Swedish Peregrine Project. Dr. Lindberg has monitored the Swedish Peregrine population since 1965, from the time the species was critically endangered, until today when the population has recovered.

Dr. Lindberg has also worked with several other raptor species such as the Gyrfalcon and the Golden Eagle, and environmental problems such as acid rain, and effects on the aquatic food-chain with the Loons as top predators. His main research field is to document and monitor different pesticides, mercury and polybrominated flame retardants in relation to productivity in the Fennoscandian Peregrine population. Dr. Lindberg’s PhD.thesis, published in 1983, documented the effects of DDT on eggshell thickness and the variance of mercury contamination due to food choice in different areas of N. Europe.

Pesticides was one reason behind the decline of the Fennoscandian Peregrine population, while the other was persecution (caused by egg-collectors and falconers) and the shooting of peregrines wintering in Southern Europe.

In 1974 the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation started together with the governmental Swedish Environmental Protection Board, a captive breeding programme for the species. This was considered as the last chance to save the species in Sweden. Dr. Lindberg states, “The founders were all of the original subspecies Falco p. peregrinus, and we have thus been very stringent with the genetic material. In many other captive breeding programmes in the USA and Germany, a mixture of different subspecies from many parts of the world have been used.”

The Swedish captive breeding programme has been a success, and the Swedish Peregrine is not an endangered species any longer. Dr. Lindberg and his associates continue to conduct close monitoring of the new population from a genetic point of view, checking which genes are the most successful in reproduction and survival.

Dr. Lindberg has observed, “During the last ten years there has been an increased number of observed falconers’ birds of different species, and hybrids. Falconry in prohibited in Sweden, Norway and Finland and the birds thus come from Denmark, Germany and England. Unfortunately several of the hybrids, mainly males (mixtures between peregrine (x) gyrfalcon or Saker falcon, etc) have entered the wild population, breeding with Peregrines. These artificially (AI) created falcons can be considered as GMO (Genetic Modified Organisms) that might threaten or at least change the genetic constitution of wild populations of Peregrines and Gyrfalcons. In Europe there is a high production of hybrids to satisfy the demand from Arabic falconry market. A significant number of these hybrids are lost during training flights during their first season, and they do enter the wild population. The economic interests in the production of hybrids are so strong, that a serious discussion and a prohibition of this production has been neglected.”

Dr. Graham Child

Dr. Graham Child is the father of Africa’s eminently successful sustainable-use programs, known as “Communal Areas Management Programme for Indigenous Resources” (CAMPFIRE). Dr. Child’s expertise and his achievements in sustainable-use management programs are legendary. Dr. Child also developed U.C.R.’s White Paper, and our strategy for ‘Community Based Falcon Conservation’. Wild Asian falcons and falconophiles around the world, are the beneficiaries of Dr. Child’s years of experience