Pakistan swoops in on falcon smugglers

The Pakistani authorities said they have foiled an attempt to smuggle dozens of endangered falcons out of the country. Wildlife traffickers catch falcons in Pakistan's mountainous north, often to sell them for lucrative profits in the Gulf region whe
PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

The Pakistani authorities said they have foiled an attempt to smuggle dozens of endangered falcons out of the country.

Wildlife traffickers catch falcons in Pakistan's mountainous north, often to sell them for lucrative profits in the Gulf region where hunting with the birds is a popular sport.

Customs officials seized 75 falcons and a houbara bustard last week at locations around the southern port city of Karachi in what they called an "unprecedented" anti-smuggling operation.

"The birds are listed as rare and endangered species, and their trade is strictly banned," said senior Customs officer Mohammad Saqif Saeed. He did not identify the species of the birds but estimated their value to be 200 million Pakistani rupees (S$1.67 million) on the black market.

The authorities have arrested two suspects and plan to release the birds into the wild.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 19, 2020, with the headline 'Pakistan swoops in on falcon smugglers'. Print Edition | Subscribe