For use of the media
not an official document.
New CITES Guide to prevent illegal trade in falcons
Geneva, 8 July 2009 – The Government of Canada and the Falcon
Enforcement Task Force of the Convention on International Trade
in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) will launch
today a new guide on falcons and hawks to coincide with the 58th
meeting of the CITES Standing Committee.
The CITES Guide to Falconry Species is available in two
editions: one for the public and one restricted to Law Enforcement
Officers. The public version of the guide includes an identification
key and descriptive for the six falcon and one hawk species most
commonly traded for falconry purposes. It also contains information
on the identification of juvenile falcons and falcon hybrids.
The Law Enforcement Edition is an expansion of the public edition,
and also includes information on indicators of illegal activity.
It will helps border control, Customs and police officers to monitor
and control the cross-border movements of falcons. The CITES Secretariat
and the Falcon Enforcement Task Force are contributors to the Law
Enforcement Edition. The guides will also be a useful tool for exporting
and importing countries involved in conservation projects.
The two editions were developed by Environment Canada at the request
of the CITES Secretariat to help prevent illegal trade
in those species. “I am very proud that our department has
taken the leadership role in the development of this publication,” said
Canada’s Environment Minister Jim Prentice. “Tools
like the CITES Guide to Falconry Species will help wildlife
enforcement officers around the world prosecute and deter
falcon smugglers and discourage poachers trying to evade international
In the mid-2000s, illegal trade in birds of prey slumped because
the avian flu apparently frightened falconers. However,
it seems to be growing again, with major recent seizures in several
countries. Illegal harvesting involves the eggs of falcons and hawks
being removed from nests in the wild or birds being trapped. These
eggs or live birds are then smuggled to countries where falconry
is historically and culturally significant and where birds can attract
prices of tens of thousands of dollars. As certain falcons are becoming
increasingly rare in the wild, this poaching significantly affects
The Secretary-General of CITES, Willem Wijnstekers, welcomed the
launch of both guides and commended Environment Canada and the members
of the CITES Falcon Enforcement Task Force for their work on these
publications. Mr Wijnstekers commented that “the publication
of this type of material is essential in the fight against illegal
falcon trade. These guides are very timely and the result of a multi-national
effort, bringing together law enforcement agents from around the
Note to journalists
- The guide is an electronic
publication and is available in English and in French.
The public edition can be download at: http://www.ec.gc.ca/publications.
- Members of the media interested in knowing more about these
guides or the role of the Enforcement Task Forces in
CITES are kindly invited to attend the launch event of
the CITES Guide to Falconry
Species to be held at the CICG (Geneva, Switzerland), on
July 8th. For more information please contact John Sellar
at +41 (22) 917 82 93 or <john.sellar @ cites.org>.
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