What is the Raptor Research Foundation?
The Raptor Research Foundation (RRF) is the world’s largest professional society for raptor researchers and conservationists. Founded in 1966 as a non-profit organisation, our primary goal is the accumulation and dissemination of scientific information about raptors. We also promote an awareness and appreciation of raptors amongst the general public. Our 950+ membership spans 50 countries on six continents, forming a global network of raptor experts. The world’s leading raptor researchers are members of RRF, along with other professional scientists, wildlife managers, educators, conservationists, students and amateur raptor enthusiasts.
What does the Raptor Research Foundation do?
RRF achieves its mission in the following ways:
- Organises annual scientific conferences (recent locations include USA, Spain, Israel, Scotland, Czech Republic, Mexico, Italy, England, Canada and Argentina).
- Provides competitive grants & awards for student researchers & conservationists.
- Provides support & networking opportunities for students & early career raptor researchers.
- Provides grants & awards of recognition for established researchers & conservationists.
- Produces a quarterly scientific journal (Journal of Raptor Research), available in hard copy or electronic PDF and free to members.
- Produces a biannual newsletter (Wingspan) with raptor news from around the world.
- Provides expert scientific advice on international raptor conservation issues to governments, wildlife agencies, zoos, non-profit organisations etc.
The Raptor Research Foundation in the 21st Century
Historically, RRF was viewed by many as a predominantly North American -focused society. This was probably a reflection on the activities of the founding members of the organisation, who were responding to the catastrophic effects of DDT on many North American raptor populations. RRF membership for international raptor researchers was always welcomed by our US colleagues, but for logistical reasons it wasn’t an easy society in which to participate fully. Clearly, these practical barriers didn’t do much to foster the global appeal or relevancy of RRF. However, with the advent of the internet revolution over the last ~15 years, our focus has now changed dramatically and we are continually finding new ways to collaborate on an international scale.
We are forming strong partnerships with other raptor organisations worldwide, such as the Asian Raptor Research and Conservation Network (ARRCN), World Working Group on Birds of Prey and Owls (WWGBP), Neotropical Raptor Network (NRN) and the African Raptor Network (ARN). Our quarterly Journal of Raptor Research (JRR) continues to attract high-quality research papers based on raptor studies from around the world, and we recently donated a series of JRR back-issues to public-access libraries, organisations and institutions throughout Africa, Asia and South America. In addition, our JRR back-issues are now available to download free-of-charge on the Searchable Ornithological Research Archive (SORA) website.
One-third of our Directors reside outside the North American continent (currently in Kenya, Norway, Spain and Northern Ireland) and in 2009 we elected our first ‘international’ President, who resides in the UK. In addition, our newly-restructured Conservation Committee has now established a global network of raptor experts in each biogeographical region throughout the world. This new network will help to identify and highlight regional raptor conservation issues that may benefit from RRF’s scientific support. By using RRF’s expertise and credibility, we can help to resolve real-world raptor conservation issues on an unprecedented international scale.