Some 74 falcons were taken from a member of the Qatari royal family this week when he tried to bring them into Pakistan without the proper paperwork, customs officials have said.
The man had tried to bring in 114 of the birds of prey, but only had embassy-approved documentation for 40 of them, Qamaruddin Thalo, a customs department spokesman, told the BBC.
Arabian Business reports:
Members of GCC royal families receive special dispensation for bringing falcons into Pakistan for hunting purposes.
“It’s something that’s illegal and unprecedented elsewhere in the world,” Dr Rab Nawaz, local representative of the World Wildlife Federation told the BBC. “But the Arabs sheikhs are allowed due to our ‘special relationship’ with them.”
Falcons, a prized status symbol in the region, are used across the Middle East for hunting. Centuries ago Bedouin tribesmen used the birds of prey to hunt for meat. Today, they are national symbols of the UAE and are featured on road signs as well as its currency.
The birds are in custody pending an explanation from the Qatari embassy.