Arab Falconers Next Hunting Ground - South Africa

Discussion in 'News & Announcements' started by, Oct 29, 2009.

  1. FOUNDER AH Ambassador

    Oct 1, 2007
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    Arab Falconers Next Hunting Ground - South Africa

    Concerns are mounting in birding circles that wealthy Arab falconers are eyeing Southern Africa as their next hunting ground, endangering South Africa’s rich korhaan and bustard diversity.

    “We are definitely worried,” said Mark Anderson, executive director of Birdlife Africa. “These Arab falconers try to catch as many birds as possible and this is a big threat to our already threatened bustard and korhaan population.”

    Falconry in the Middle East led to the near-extinction of the houbara bustard and only an expensive reintroduction programme, funded by Saudi princes, has saved the bird.

    Birders are disturbed by reports that Arab falconers have bought up huge tracts in arid parts of South Africa, including land near Shamwari in the Eastern Cape and Upington in the Northern Cape. This was after authorities refused hunting permits to South African hunting outfits courting the Arabs.

    Arab falconers apparently have their sights on the Karoo korhaan, found in the Northern Cape, because it resembles the houbara. There are particular fears that their deep pockets could circumvent local conservation laws.

    “Money talks, and … Birdlife SA must be ready to tackle this issue head-on … it is a sport that is roping in huge sums of money at the demise of certain species,” said Birdlife member Tony Roberts in an internet forum.

    Namibia and Botswana may be more vulnerable because of weak legislation. Anderson was particularly concerned about Botswana, where hunters are testing the waters.

    South African falconer Adrian Lombard said local falconers considered the unsustainable hunting practices that have decimated the houbara a disgrace. Bustard hunting on any significant scale was undesirable.

    “Falconry in South Africa is acknowledged as a minimally consumptive sustainable-use activity that encourages conservation,” he said. “We would vehemently oppose any such threat to South African biodiversity.”

    Lombard said the houbara had been hunted sustainably for 2 000 years. Only in the past 50 years had oil wealth “permitted the excesses we so abhor”. He called for an investigation into how Middle Eastern businessmen intended using land they had bought in South Africa.

    The Mail & Guardian tracked down one hunting outfit, Shabanga Safaris, that offered falconry hunts on its website, targeting Arab falconers. But the owner, Riaan van Niekerk, said Shabanga no longer offers the service.

    A local falconer offered his services to Shabanga, but no hunts took place. “I’ve been meaning to remove that link from our webpage for a while,” he said. If the Arabs used their own land for hunting, they would still face obstacles. They and hunting outfits would have to apply for a host of permits, including hunting permits and permits to practise falconry.

    Lombard said the Arabs use large, aggressive and heat-tolerant birds. “Although the African peregrine could possibly be induced to take the black korhaan, it would be very unlikely to do this regularly. “No other indigenous falcons will hunt korhaan,” he said. Imported birds would be subjected to a month’s quarantine and Lombard said they would require fitness training.

    Lombard said the Karoo, black and blue korhaan are territorial and can be found fairly predictably, and that over-hunting would rapidly denude the purchased farms of suitable quarry.

    “Boundary fences, to say nothing of neighbours’ permission would pose a considerable problem.” The 4x4 vehicles used by falconers to chase their quarry also posed an environmental threat, Anderson said.

    Source: Mail & Guardian
  2. Calhoun

    Calhoun AH Enthusiast

    Jan 18, 2009
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    SCI N.E. Wisconsin Chapter - WisNRA
    ...I hope the governments in Africa band together & don't allow the Arabs to bring their birds into the country & start Falconry! It's to bad that a lot of money allows them to do what they want & where! I hope they tell them to keep their birds home & hunt in their own countries! Maybe they will learn conservation & bring their populations to healthy levels.
  3. Arab_Falconer

    Arab_Falconer New Member

    Mar 7, 2011
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    Thank you for your interest in wildlife, as we care about them (the rich Arab falconers) in your article.
    First: We are not rich.
    Secondly: Those who have money (rich) have private farms to hunt.
    Third: We do not kill for pleasure or plentiful, but the life cycle (hawks need meat) and we will kill what is enough for a meal only, not as sponsors of this site, kill for the Trophy.
    Fifth: I advise you to visit us in the UAE and see wildlife. (my account):)
  4. Bushbuck

    Bushbuck AH Enthusiast

    Feb 18, 2009
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    I do not know enough about Falconry to be able to make a comment. I do find the last comment by whoever wrote the article interesting however. I think they could end many anti hunting articles with the same comment.

    "The 4x4 vehicles used by falconers to chase their quarry also posed an environmental threat, Anderson said."

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