FSB Officers Prevent Gyrfalcon Smuggling in Kamchatka
Kamchatsky Krai FSB officers have detained two men in the Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky airport after their failed attempt to smuggle 7 gyrfalcons to Vladivostok.
VLADIVOSTOK. February 4. VOSTOK-MEDIA – Kamchatsky Krai FSB officers have detained two men in the Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky airport after they allegedly attempted to smuggle 7 gyrfalcons to Vladivostok.
A WWF Russia spokesman said the tied up birds were packed in travelling bags. To diminish birds’ activity the smugglers inserted bottles filled with cold water to the bags. All the seven birds are female, officials say. Smugglers target female falcons mostly due to their remarkable hunting skills and large size.
“It’s very likely that these falcons and the previously seized falcons were supplied by the same people,” said Aleksandr Selnitsyn, the Chief Specialist at Kamchatka Krai Wildlife Protection Control Agency.
The Gyrfalcon is listed in the Red Book of endangered species of the Russian Federation. Ornithologists say each year about 100 gyrfalcons are smuggled from Kamchatka. Over the past decade, the gyrfalcon population in Kamchatka has dwindled from 3,500 to 500.
“Despite the fact that all the birds looked well and didn’t seem to have any injuries, only three of them were able to fly, when they were released into the wild. This points to the fact that the birds are weakened and are in a state of shock. They need rehabilitation,” says Anatoly Dekshtein, a spokesman for Kamchatka branch of WWF Russia, who took part in the reintroduction of the gyrfalcons into the wild.
Vladivostok would not have become the destination point for the gyrfalcons. It is just one of the nearest points in the continent, from where the birds would be transported by another transport, which is more safe for smugglers. The Gyrfalcon is very popular in Arab countries, where they are used for hunting.
The detained smugglers will carry punishment under Article 8.35 of the Administrative Code of the Russian Federation on “Eliminating Rare Species of Plants and Animals, as well as those under the Threat of Extinction”. Offenders now have to pay a fine at the rate of 1,500 to 2,500 rubles.
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