Sub-divisional Forest Officer (SDFO) Wildlife Sardar Ali said they had received information stating four falcons would be smuggled in a coach to Karachi. Consequently, they dispatched a team to the suspected area and managed to seize the birds.
“Jehanzeb escaped, leaving his birds behind, but we have identified him and an FIR has been registered,” said the SDFO. He added the birds are Siberian Falcons that migrate to Afghanistan, Pakistan and China where bird hunters catch them on a large scale. The accused was taking the birds to UAE via Karachi, speculated Ali.
The falcons are in great demand in the Gulf countries, he explained. In recent years their prices have gone down due to an international ban on their trade across the globe – which is why these birds are now smuggled. “The collective price of the four falcons is at least Rs3.5 million in UAE,” he informed. According to another estimate, each falcon is valued at over Rs3 million in the open market.
“We will free these birds in the golf club once the permission is given by the district sessions judge. These falcons are endangered, but are still illegally netted in Pakistan and Afghanistan despite a ban on their trade.”
Peshawar has the largest black market of Saker Falcons in the world. The trade dates back to when Arabs came to the area for conquest and started transporting these birds to their homelands. As demand rose, locals started capturing and trading falcons too.
The valued Saker Falcons have almost disappeared in Pakistan due to extensive hunting, but birds caught in China and Afghanistan still fi
KP Minister for Environment and Wildlife Haji Abrar Hussain Tanoli set free four precious falcons at Golf Club, Peshawar here. Syed Mubarak Ali Shah, chief conservator wildlife, and other officers were also present on the occasion.
The minister gave Rs50,000 to the officials who had captured these falcons. He also directed the wildlife chief conservator to give one step promotion to them.