A big number of wild-caught Lanner Falcons held in captivity in a desert area of Libya.
A video showing a big number of falcons – mainly Lanners (Falco biarmicus) – held in captivity in a desert area was shared recently in a Libyan facebook group dedicated to hunting. It was shared by someone using a pseudonym and claims to be from Egypt (he is not), however the video almost without a doubt was recorded in Libya.
See the video to have an idea about the number of birds stuffed in that little space (I counted some 100 birds, but some are hardly visible). Also note that all visible birds have their eyelids sewn-up. This is generally done when there are no ‘falconry hoods’ available to cover the falcons’ head. (This was originally omitted because it was obvious in the video, but added after readers’ comments here and on FB).
The questions that can be asked by anyone with limited knowledge about falconry and hunting in general are: Were these falcons wild-caught or bred in captivity? Are they held by “legitimate” or illegal falconers? And finally what is their destination?
To experienced people, the answers are very simple. These falcons were captured from the wild and are destined to be sold in the black market locally or most likely across the borders.
The conditions in which these falcons live are perfect for the spread of disease inside this ‘facility’ and to the wild populations (in the case of any escapes). Genetic population is also a risk if the birds are from different populations or subspecies.
A regional problem
The illegal capture of wild falcons occurs across the region not just in Libya. However, for some reasons including security, the problem is probably not as bad as in this case. Here are some examples with happy endings thanks to dedicated people who saved them:
- Rare falcons rescued from poachers in Morocco (a Peregrine Falcon from Finland and a Saker Falcon).
- Peregrine Falcon rescued from poachers near Casablanca, Morocco (a male bird from Sweden).
5 thoughts on “Over 100 wild-caught Lanner Falcons held in captivity (video)”
All those Lanners seem to have their eyes sown up – that’s why they are acting so quiet. This must indicate these birds are from the wild ?
Do BirdLife International have a presence in Libya?
Thanks Colin for your comment.
The falcons’ eyelids are sewn-up when there are no hoods to cover their heads. This can only mean that the birds were captured or purchased/gathered recently. However, this is not the only indication that the birds are from the wild. Many hunters and falconers from Libya strongly condemned the act and labelled it as ‘illegal capture’, ‘extermination of the wild population’…etc. Also, the video was studied by a specialist before deciding to post it here.
No, BirdLife International has no partner in Libya. Though, they have official partners in two neighbouring countries: Tunisia (Association ‘Les Amis des Oiseaux’) and Egypt (Nature Conservation Egypt).
These seem all to be Lanners. I can’t see any other species. Horrific.
Thanks Nick! They are indeed all Lanner Falcons. Because some are not visible, there could be a bird or two from other falcons in the back (such as Barbary Falcon or Northern Peregrine).
Horrific both for the captured birds (stress, disease,….) and for the population as well (sure this unchecked capture and trade will take its toll on the Lanner breeding population).
Do the same to the captors but include rectums then feed them a massive dose of prunes followed by vindaloo and senna pods