NEWS: Falcon Breeders Steal Wild Falcon Eggs

CLICK HERE to download and read 'The Sunday Mail' report:
The status of wild falcon eggs, stolen for laundering through falcon farms

August 13, 2006: Mr. Norman Silvester reports in the Sunday Mail  (above) about how falcon smugglers have decimated Scottish Peregrine Falcons, so that compared to years past, Peregrines have nearly vanished as breeding residents of Scotland.

The Sunday Mail reports that recently, nests of 40 wild Scottish Peregrine nests were looted. 

If this account can be independantly verified, it would not be unique.  Today, a small group of opportunists collect eggs, for diverse 'new blood' to be 'laundered' through CITES-licensed breeding facilities in the United Arab Emirates and Europe.

In all fairness, there can be no doubt that the Sunday Mail is in error on at least two fronts:

1) the prices of Peregrine falcons listed in the Sunday Mail are inflated. Only the best wild-trapped Gyrfalcons and Saker falcons command prices exceeding U.S. $100,000.  And every year, several select falcons sell for more than $1,000,000 in the Middle East. But Peregrine Falcons very rarely sell for more than $50,000, and those birds are wild-trapped (i.e. not raised in captivity).

2) the source who provided information to the author of this news report, failed to reveal to The Sunday Mail that the primary country in the Middle East that creates the largest demand for laundered eggs is the United Arab Emirates.

U.C.R. has caught the U.A.E. and it's Diplomats smuggling falcons so many times, that the United Nations twice imposed trade sanctions on the United Arab Emirates. Within one day of this story appearing in The Sunday Mail, there was a frenzied panic among U.A.E. breeders.

Arab falconers do not buy falcon eggs.  Falcon breeders buy eggs, which are then 'laundered' through their breeding farms.

The Sequence of Events:

1) a small community of falcon breeders illegally steal wild falcons and wild falcon eggs;

2) the eggs are illegally 'fostered' to create new foundation breeding stock on falcon farms;

3) the eggs are also illegally 'fostered' to grow new hunting falcons, which are then licensed by the United Nations CITES offices for export to commercial markets across the Middle East, where the best falcons sell for a King's ransom.

4) After wiping out wild falcons, host countries are forced to buy farm falcons at inflated prices, for use in 'release programs', from the same breeders who are responsible for regional extirpations.

5) The most tragic feature:  the falcons which breeders typically sell to governments for release programs, are super-birds created for Arab sport falconry.  These are intra-specific hybrids, that ultimately interbreed with wild remnant populations.  This interbreeding with non-native farm falcons causes 'genetic pollution' of wild falcons, whose unique bloodlines are destroyed forever.

Summary: Governments purchase farm falcons from smugglers, for use in 'release programs'. When intra-specific hybrid falcons are released into nature, they interbreed with wild falcons, causing the destruction of original wild falcon populations forever, through 'genetic pollution' .

To read the complete story in the Sunday Mail, click here .