KARACHI, Oct 22: Sindh Wildlife Department personnel released three endangered Peregrine falcons at Lab-i-Mehran in Sukkur on Monday morning in the presence of media persons and independent observers, according to deputy conservator of wildlife Ghulam Mohammad Gadani.

Talking to Dawn, Mr Gadani said the total number of falcons released over a week had risen to four. The SWD personnel had seized the three Peregrine falcons late on Sunday night after a raid on a Karachi-bound bus coming from Rajanpur near the Ranger’s check-post at Dera Mor near Guddu, he said.

He said the poacher, Sidiq Arain, was caught and the rare birds were brought to the SWD office where an FOR — SWD’s equivalent of police’s FIR —was registered under sections 10 and 17 of the Sindh Wildlife Protection Ordinance (SWPO), 1972, against the poacher and he was fined Rs20,000.

The young female birds which were around a year old and could have fetched around half a million rupees each on the black market, were released on Monday morning by forest chief conservator Riaz Wagan and UN official Mr Saleem at the SWD’s Dolphins Centre near Sukkur Barrage in the presence of media persons.

Mr Gadani said that last week also, a poacher Mr Solangi was caught smuggling a rare species Saker falcon in a car. He was nabbed near Kotdiji while driving towards a camp of an Arab hunter apparently to sell the bird, which could have easily earned him between Rs700,000 and Rs800,000, he said.

He said that a case was registered against the poacher under sections 10 and 17 of the SWPO and a fine of Rs10,000 was imposed on him. The Saker falcon was confiscated and released the next day in front of independent observers, including media persons, in a forest near the SWD office, he said.

Residents of cold central Asian region, the Peregrine and Saker falcons are highly endangered and rare species of predatory birds. They leave their colder abodes and migrate southwards to the subcontinent every year to spend winters in a relatively warm environment.

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