KARACHI, Dec 4: Following the seizure of 32 highly rare migratory falcons in a raid on a shop near Punjab Chowrangi on Tuesday afternoon, the Anti-Corruption Establishment decided to register a criminal case not only against suspected wildlife traffickers but also against relevant wildlife department officials.

Trapping of and trading in falcons is banned under the Sindh Wildlife Protection Ordinance, which prescribes heavy fines and long prison terms for the violators besides the confiscation of the predatory birds.

Responding to Dawn queries, ACE deputy director Nisar Brohi said the department had received information that falcons were being sold in a shop near Punjab Chowrangi, so an ACE team led by Chaudhry Hameedullah and accompanied by Judicial Magistrate (South) Hatim Solangi raided the outlet and seized the 32 falcons from the premises named Falcons House.

He said that the illegal business was being conducted by Mehrab and Javed, who could not be arrested as they were not on the premises.

However, teams had been formed to apprehend them.

He said the falcons had been brought to the ACE office in Clifton and a case was being registered.

He said the Sindh wildlife department would be informed about the seizure and its assistance would be sought to take proper care of the precious birds and pursue the case.

ACE director Javed Baloch said that the illegal business of falcons was being carried out in connivance with wildlife staffers and a case was being registered against the people carrying out the falcon trade as well as relevant wildlife department officials.

As the weather turns cold, millions of birds — including the internationally protected houbara bustards and saker and peregrine falcons —living in the central Asian regions migrate southwards to escape the harsh weather in their habitat and spend the winters in relatively warmer environment in the subcontinent, where they were trapped and hunted in large numbers.

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