ASU returns “contraband” falcons to the wild

3 August 2017 Department of Information and Media Communications
Today, on 3 August 2017, on the territory of Kislukhinski Natural Reserve employees of Altai Falcon laboratory under South-Siberian Botanic Garden of Altai State University have released 9 red-listed saker falcons to the wild. Poachers had previously tried to smuggle the birds out of Russia.

On 14 September 2016 boxes with 30 saker falcons, which were to be smuggled to the United Arab Emirates, were confiscated at the customs of Domodedovo airport located in Moscow. These birds are highly demanded in the Middle Eastern countries, so a customer had already been waiting for them to arrive. Saker falcons are not only the main attribute of hunt, which is very popular there, but also serve as an indicator of the bird owner’s high social status. The prices for one bird in the UAE start from $50,000. Saker falcons are considered to be endangered species and are included into the Red Book list. Expired documents for live load struck Moscow customs officers as suspicious. Moreover, according to the Russian Legislation, only graded birds can be exported out of the country. Some of the falcons turned out to be wild (the price for them is considerably higher).

As a result, criminal case was initiated. The birds were taken to the Center for Rescue of Wild Animals near Moscow. There the scientists found out which region the birds were captured in with the help of genetic analysis. It turned out that 9 saker falcons were caught in Altai Krai, so they were taken to their homeland by plane.

“The birds were delivered in special transport containers. They are round, 60 cm in diameter and 40 cm high. Each of them contains a bird. The load was accompanied by Sergey A. Ganusevich, director of the Center for Rescue of Wild Animals. The falcons’ age is less than a year and all of them are female,” head of Altai Falcon laboratory under South-Siberian Botanic Garden of Altai State University Viktor N. Plotnikov said.

Today, on 3 August 2017, 9 “contraband” saker falcons have been released into the wild with the assistance of staff members of Altai Falcon laboratory under South-Siberian Botanic Garden of Altai State University. Apart from ASU zoologists, the event hosted representatives of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection of Altai Krai, Russian Federal Service for Supervision of Natural Resource Usage, as well as students and pupils. Such aid rendered to birds is one of the work directions for Altai Falcon Rare Birds Nursery, due to which hundreds of wild birds, which suffer from human’s irresponsible actions, have been rescued.

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