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Scandal of rare falcons being smuggled out of Russia 'as playthings of rich Arab sheikhs'

By The Siberian Times reporter
21 October 2015

Border guards seize 14 birds, as FSB lead search for criminals behind cruelty.

'We believe that the offenders tried to smuggle the birds initially to Kazakhstan in order to sell them later to Arab sheikhs, who use them in falconry.' Picture: Border Guard Department in Altai region

The tethered peregrine falcons were hidden in two bags on a freight train bound from Russia to Kazakhstan, said border guards in Altai region. Shocking pictures show how the birds - the fastest flyers in the world - were kept after being seized at the Lokot crossing in Rubtsovsk.  

The falcons, listed as endangered in the Russian Red Book, were confiscated and handed to the investigation department of the Altai customs. In a state of anabiosis - or temporary suspended animation - they survived their ordeal and are now in 'rehab' before being returned to the wild. 

Peregrine falcons


Peregrine falcons


Peregrine falcons


Peregrine falcons

No-one accompanied the birds on the train. A cold water bottle was placed with the birds, evidently to induce anabiosis. Picture: Border Guard Department in Altai region

Mikhail Mikhailov, spokesman for the Border Guard Department of the FSB, said: 'We believe that the offenders tried to smuggle the birds initially to Kazakhstan in order to sell them later to Arab sheikhs, who use them in falconry.'

Other such cases have occurred in the past. The birds were seized in 18 September but details were withheld in the interests of the investigation. 

No-one accompanied the birds on the train. A cold water bottle was placed with the birds, evidently to induce anabiosis. The birds can command prices of $10,000 or more on the black market. 

Comments (8)

It is so sad how heartless people can be just to make money. Im glad that the "police" caught them before they were shipped away!
Lizzie Finley, Chino Hills, CA
07/12/2015 06:25
1
0
Hazah! For the border guards, police, or whatever they are called. A good stipend would be a nice reward not for just doing their job. Also, for taking the time yo look somewhat longer, and more inquisitively at suspicious behavior. Also, admin might continue/increase their training sessions on combating this cruel practice. I hope all of the birds survive after being forced to endure this entire negative episode.
Coim, USA
28/10/2015 07:50
3
0
this is terrible needs more border control that is hard I presume needs a court case a long prison sentence to deter the criminal gangs
peter ambler, derby uk
24/10/2015 06:42
2
0
These birds are actually looking at the camera which makes this even more poignant and disturbing...they look aware and disturbed! Wrapped like commodities in a conveyor belt one has to ask what mindless sadist would value this as acceptable?
Carmen, Ireland
24/10/2015 06:41
5
0
wonder if zthere was a follow through. someone must have collected the bag, still thinking the birds are there?
Benedikt, Moscow,Russia
23/10/2015 10:43
2
0
Catch the hooligans and castrate the cruel maggots.....
Ozzie Finley, Point Pleasant, United States
22/10/2015 03:20
6
0
There needs to be a HOT LINE # to report this kind of illegal activity.
Have a nice juicy reward for the apprehension, and conviction of these types of individuals.
Darwin, USA
21/10/2015 21:35
9
0
It`s terrible to see the evidence of this type of black market animal cruelty. And also good to see that these birds are saved. I hope they will be brought back to where they belong as soon as possible. I hope the Boarder of Guard Department of FSB continues to drive these quests forward to put an end to these types of Criminal Activity once and for all.
guri-kristine mundal, trondheim norway
21/10/2015 20:29
8
0
1

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