The Central Laboratory of General Ecology – Bulgarian Academy of Sciences started a Saker Falcon research and conservation program in 2006. The project is named «Saker Falcon in Southeast Europe – Research and Conservation». In the frame of this program an international network from organizations and researchers was established – Southeast European Saker Network (SESN); eight countries participate in this network at the moment i.e., Bulgaria, Croatia, Macedonia, Moldova, Romania, Serbia, Turkey and Ukraine. The aim of this network is to coordinate efforts for Saker Falcon study and protection in the Southeast European region. The Saker Falcon is listed by IUCN as a globally threatened species, and it requires urgent and joint measures for stopping and reversing its declining population trend.
Last SESN studies are connected with identification of different populations of the Saker Falcon using DNA and stable-isotope markers. It will enable to determine of the origin of birds taken from the wild for use in falconry. Furthermore, by comparison with museum specimens, it will enable to determine genetic similarity of current and historical populations of Sakers in Southeast Europe, which will determine possible parental stock for any potential reintroduction project. For this reason feather samples are collected from juvenile birds from the different parts of the species’ breeding distribution range.