British and Spanish authorities have unraveled an international falcon smuggling ring in Catalonia. The news report doesn’t mention it, but the demand for falcons is almost exclusively from the Middle East. The main market is the Persian Gulf, and Dubai is a key port of entry and transit (as it also is for smuggled ivory, big cats, and other wildlife contraband). From Wildlife Extra on Mar. 20:
Bird crime ring busted by Spanish and UK wildlife crime units
The UK National Wildlife Crime Unit have helped COS AGENTS RURALS DE CATALUNYA (Catalonia Rural Ranger Corps) uncover an international bird laundering ring.
Agents in Spain investigating individuals keeping Peregrine falcons, became suspicious of documentation that they had seized, which indicated that falcons in their possession had been captive bred in the UK.
Enquiries by the NWCU revealed that leg rings being worn by some of the falcons in Spain were not the original rings referred to on the documentation.
Evidence gleaned by the NWCU suggests that fake rings are being manufactured to match genuine permits…
What is the connection between hunting with falcons and financing terrorism, apart from the fact that both involve wealthy Arabs? The filmmakers of “Feathered Cocaine,” the 2010 documentary about falcons and Osama Bin Laden, revealed the following:
Feathered Cocaine interviews Robert Baer, a former CIA agent, about the Royal Falconry Camps and how they are used to funnel huge amounts of cash to Terrorists, including Osama Bin Laden and al-Qaeda. The money transfers are cash only and are flown between countries in large military Government airplanes that are not checked by customs upon arrival. The CIA believes these planes are used to deliver cars, cash, weapons and supplies to militant terrorists. The Persian Gulf rulers have refused to shut down these camps when asked to do so…