Two held; birds to be freed
KUWAIT CITY, Oct 18: The Pakistani authorities announced, Saturday that they had thwarted an attempt to smuggle out of the country endangered falcons valued at more than a million dollars, reports Al-Rai daily. The daily added, wild bird smugglers hunt these falcons in the mountainous regions of northern Pakistan, with the aim of selling them for large sums of money to the Arab Gulf region including Kuwait where falconry is a popular sport.
The Pakistani customs officials said, they have confiscated 75 falcons and bustards from several locations around the port of the southern city of Karachi, in an unprecedented anti-smuggling operation. “These birds are on the list of rare and endangered species, and trading in them is strictly prohibited,” said a senior customs official, Mohammad Saqif Saeed. He did not specify the species of these birds, but estimated their value at about 200 million Pakistani rupees (more than one million dollars) on the black market.
The Pakistani authorities have arrested two suspects, and are planning to release the birds into the wild. The bustard is a desert bird whose flesh is appreciated by some in the Arab countries for its usefulness as an aphrodisiac. Wealthy hunting enthusiasts from the Arab Gulf states travel to Baluchistan every winter in southwestern Pakistan to hunt bustards using falcons. The Supreme Court in Pakistan had previously annulled a ruling banning this sport.