U.C.R. 'In the News': Reuters AlertNet

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About Middle East Falconers, Responsible for Today's Black Market

commentary by the Union for the Conservation of Raptors, below:

April 20, 2006: Mr. Alister Doyle investigates falcon smuggling that is financed and directed by Middle East falconers, who are the political leaders of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Mr. Doyle is the 'Environment Correspondent' for the Reuters news bureau.

U.C.R. characterizes today's contraband falcons as "feathered cocaine™" . Falcons are trafficked in a black market, conservatively valued at U.S. $300,000,000 per annum.

Across Central Asia, smugglers who are paid by Middle East falconers, are gravely endangering entire populations of Gyrfalcons, Saker falcons, Peregrine falcons, Golden Eagles, and Houbara Lesser McQueen's Bustards.

Farm-produced falcons are also part of the problem  because each year, hundreds of non-native farm falcons are released into wild ecosystems.  Many of these mongrelized falcons are now interbreeding with wild natal stock, destroying native gene pools forever.

Farm falcons are also used as 'live bait' to catch priceless wild falcons.  To use farm falcons as "Nigil" (Arabic for a falcon used as "live bait"), their eyes are sewn shut with a needle and thread, and they are released as a live-lures to snare and capture wild falcons, which are then smuggled from Central Asia to the Arabian Gulf.

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