KARACHI: The Sindh Wildlife Department seized on Saturday morning 22 rare falcons, each worth Rs 1 million, as they were being smuggled to Karachi.
Deputy conservator Ghulam Mohammad Gaddani told The Express Tribune that the birds, called the Saker falcons, were seized at Toll Plaza from a passenger bus on Saturday. The falcons were being smuggled from Peshawar.
“These birds are rare and are on the list of endangered species,” he said. “They are high in demand in the local and international markets.”
Read: Wildlife officials rescue 12 laggar falcons
This is the first time that these birds were recovered in such huge numbers as usually smuggler transports only two to three falcons from one area to another.
The rare falcons, hidden in wooden boxes were perched upon the roof of the coach as it was making its way to Karachi from Peshawar. The raid was conducted by Wajid Shaikh of the Sindh Wildlife Department along with Rangers, who intercepted the bus and took the driver and a facilitator into custody after a tip-off. The arrested men will be fined Rs100,000 under the Sindh Wildlife Act.
Once the falcons were seized, other agencies came to the site in a bid to claim ownership of the rare birds. After the issue was settled down, the Sakers were handed over to the Sindh Wildlife Department who brought them to Karachi.
Meanwhile, a decision has yet to be taken about the future of the birds but, under the rules, they should be released into the wild. It is believed that the birds were to be smuggled abroad.
According to the officials, rare animals or birds have been smuggled in private cars in the past, checking by security officials have now made the smugglers opt for public transport to illegally transport them.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 11th, 2015.