NEWS: the U.A.E. Crown Prince Smuggles Raptors

Illegal Laundering of Wild Raptors Through Farms
"A Major Problem" for Law Enforcement

The Union for the Conservation of Raptors has been contacted by our European liason, Germany's "Committee Against Bird Crime", about the laundering of Greater Spotted Eagles (Aquila clanga) and many other eagles through a non-existent breeding facility in Al-Ain, United Arab Emirates.

In 2000 and 2001 Crown Prince Sheikh Abdulaziz al-Qasimi exported Greater Spotted Eagles to a European falconer, Mr. Dan Daman in Lokeren, Belgium.  Sheikh Abdulaziz is the son of the Ruler of Sharjah, a principality of the United Arab Emirates.

CLICK HERE to see a Typical, Illegal U.N. CITES Import License,
Made Possible by Fraudulent Information that was
Officially Authorized by the Government of the United Arab Emirates

The eagles were falsely papered by the United Arab Emirates CITES Authority, a branch of the United Nations, in a fraudulent claim that the eagles were captive-bred on a farm in al-Ain, U.A.E.  However, there is no record of Greater Spotted Eagles ever having been bred in captivity, according to our source in the "Committee Against Bird Crime".

There are reputed to be less than 3,000 pairs of Greater Spotted Eagles in existence.  The birds travel to the U.A.E. during winter migration, and there exist opportunities for U.A.E. locals to trap wild, migrant birds which are then 'laundered' through the U.A.E. government's al-Ain captive-breeding facility.

List of Illegal Eagles, Smuggled and Exported
by the Government of the United Arab Emirates

the year 2000: 2 Aquila heliaca; 9 Aquila clanga; 10 Hieraaetus fasciatus; 4 Aquila chrysaaetus

the year 2001: 1 Aquila heliaca; 1 Aquila clanga, 1 Aquila nipalensis; 11 Hieraaetus fasciatus; 2 Hiraaetus pennatus; 1 Aquila chrysaaetus

If confirmed, these reports by Germany's "Committee Against Bird Crime" serve to corroborate U.C.R.'s evidence on laundering of raptors through captive-breeding farms: 

v OPERATION FALCON   demonstrated how a significant number of falcon breeders laundered wild eggs and downy chicks through captive-breeding falcon farms.  Those wild birds were then falsely papered by the United Nations CITES office, as having been "bred in captivity", then sold in the Middle East for princely sums.

v U.C.R. has followed Saudi Arabian and U.A.E. smugglers across Siberia, Kamchatka, Chukotka, Kazakhstan, and Outer Mongolia.  After locating rare falcon and Houbara Bustard nests, the eggs and downy chicks are stolen and flown to the U.A.E. on government aircraft. 

After the chicks are grown, they are illegally papered and 'laundered clean' by the U.N. CITES Authority.  This account by the Committee Against Bird Crime significantly supports a larger body of evidence, on raptor smuggling by the government of the United Arab Emirates.

Siberian Gyrfalcons, Altai Gyrfalcons, and Tibetan Saker falcons are primary birds targeted by U.A.E. smugglers, for 'laundering' through government breeding projects.  A number of these illegally 'laundered' birds have been re-exported to England where they currently reside at the farm of Dr. Nick Fox


British Falcon 'Laundering' Reviewed with
the NCIS and DEFRA (U.N. CITES)

Principals of The Union for the Conservation of Raptors were recently invited to visit London by British DEFRA (responsible for U.N. CITES licenses) and the National Criminal Intelligence Service (NCIS).  During closed-door meetings, activities and M.O. of key British smugglers were reviewed, in the context of the Arab political leaders who pay them.

During an August 10, 2004 policy review with a British DEFRA official Mr. Roy Pitt, this U.N. CITES officer admitted knowledge of falcons exported to terrorist hunting camps where al-Qaeda's leaders arrive to hunt every year with U.S. allies from the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. Despite a cognizant awareness that today's royal falconry camps are al-Qaeda's 'Board Room', Mr. Pitt refuses to support a moratorium on falcon trade.

Due to political concerns it is unlikely that British CITES, the NCIS, and other law enforcement authorities will ever enforce existing regulations, to prevent today's ongoing illegal laundering of raptors, by British falcon 'breeders'.  Therefor the best option is to support U.C.R. on Capitol Hill, for U.S.-imposed  Pelly Amendment trade sanctions against today's merchants of extinction.