Stealing and Selling Falcon Eggs


Adam Navis and Katy Blake look at the illegal business of buying and selling falcon eggs. These birds are the fastest alive, and they are in big demand!

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Transcript


Voice 1  

Welcome to Spotlight. I’m Adam Navis.

Voice 2  

And I’m Katy Blake. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

Voice 1  

In 2010, a janitor was cleaning a bathroom in an airport in England. He saw another man enter a shower room. But when the janitor cleaned the room, there was no water. He then went to empty the waste. He found a single egg that was completely red. He suspected that something was not right. Joshua Hammer told this story in Outside Magazine.

Voice 2  

The janitor told security. Several minutes later they found the man who had gone into the shower room. The security guards discovered that he had attached 14 small bird eggs to his body. The man’s name was Jeffrey Lendrum. He claimed the eggs were from a duck - a common farm bird. The guards called several experts in illegal animals. They identified the eggs as falcon eggs. A falcon is a wild hunting bird. Lendrum was arrested. It is illegal to steal or trade these eggs. But people still pay a lot of money to buy them. Today’s Spotlight is on stealing and selling falcon bird eggs.

Voice 1  

Selling illegal animals makes almost 20 billion dollars a year. Much of it is ivory from elephant or rhino horns. It also includes spiders, lizards, and snakes. But birds are the most common animal traders sell.

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Falcons are some of the most desired birds. Falcons are the fastest animal on the planet. The peregrine falcon can dive through the air at 380 kilometers per hour. Falcon racing is very popular in the Middle East. For hundreds of years, people have used falcons for hunting. And some still do. But falcon racing is now more popular.

Voice 1  

Hamad Al-Falasi is a falcon trainer in the United Arab Emirates, or UAE. He wakes up early and drives out to the desert before the sun is too hot. He trains many different birds. Al-Falasi has many different kinds of falcons: Peregrines, Gyrfalcons, Sakers, and different combinations. Each falcon is special and loved. In fact, in the capital city of Abu Dhabi, there is a special falcon hospital. This hospital treats over 11,000 birds every year. Al-Falasi does this hard work because at one of the biggest falcon races, there is seven million dollars in prize money.

Voice 2  

But some people think falcon racing is not all great. Harrison Jacobs is a writer for Business Insider. He wrote about some of the negative effects of falcon racing. He writes,

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“Falcon traders in Pakistan, Russia, and other places are capturing falcons. They sell the birds to wealthy Arab falconers. They believe these birds are better than birds born by trainers. The Saker falcon is now in danger of disappearing. This is because its home is disappearing. It is because of the illegal capture and trade. Other kinds of falcon are also decreasing in the wild.”

Voice 1  

Even with these negative results, the illegal trade continues. But Jeffrey Lendrum and people like him usually do not trade live birds. Moving live birds is difficult. They are large and can make a lot of noise. But before they come out of their egg they are small and quiet. This is why Lendrum hid so many falcon eggs against his body. This would keep them secret and warm. The eggs need to say warm so they could hatch and become birds.

Voice 2  

Lendrum has been trading wild bird eggs for over 30 years. Getting falcon eggs takes a lot of work and risk. Falcons make their homes on mountains. In Joshua Hammer’s article in Outside Magazine, Hammer writes about one time Lendrum collected eggs.

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“The men loaded a rented helicopter with cold-weather equipment, power units, lights, cameras, a professional video recorder, GPS devices, climbing equipment, and mobile egg warmers. They acted like they were making a nature film.”

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Paul Mullin used to help Lendrum with these trips. He explained that Lendrum always said he was helping the birds. In some places, birds have to fight for food, mates, and land. Many do not survive a single year.

Voice 2  

Moving a single bird can help that one bird. But moving too many birds out of their environment can damage the bird population. For example, many falcons live in Pakistan. If a person there needs money, then capturing and selling a bird seems like a good idea. That is, until too many people do it. And then all the birds are gone.

Voice 1  

However, many countries in the Middle East are working to fight illegal falcon sales. Many airlines permit falcons to travel in the airplanes. These falcons have their own passports. From 2002 to 2013 the UAE issued 28,000 falcon passports. The passports show that the falcon is there legally. However, there are still people in places like the UAE who are willing to pay a lot of money for a good falcon - even if it did not come into the country legally.

Voice 2  

And people like Lendrum continue to take part in the illegal stealing and selling of the eggs. In 2015, Lendrum flew to Chile. A hotel worker saw him with egg warmers and ropes and gear for climbing. She did an Internet search on his name. When she discovered who he was, she called the police.

Voice 1  

Lendrum was arrested at the airport. He was trying to leave the country with four rare Peregrine falcon eggs. He was on his way to Dubai. Authorities sentenced him to four years in prison. But before he went to prison again, he left the country. He escaped to South Africa.

Voice 2  

Jeffery Lendrum says he cares about birds. But it is difficult to believe him when he only cares about birds that earn him money. Mark Jeter used to protect wild animals for the California government. He explained to Outside Magazine.

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“These falcons are worth a lot of money. I always say, if there is a 50 thousand dollar bill flying around, someone is going to try to catch it.”

Voice 1  

Have you ever seen a falcon where you live? Tell us what you think. You can leave a comment on our website. Or email us at radio@radioenglish.net. You can also comment on Facebook at Facebook.com/spotlightradio.

Voice 2  

The writer of this program was Adam Navis. The producer was Michio Ozaki. The voices you heard were from the United States and the United Kingdom. All quotes were adapted for this program and voiced by Spotlight. You can listen to this program again, and read it, on the internet at www.radioenglish.net. This program is called, ‘Stealing and Selling Falcon Eggs’.

Voice 1  

Visit our website to download our free official app for Android and Apple devices. We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program. Goodbye.

Question:

Have you ever seen a falcon? Is falcon racing popular where you live?

Comments


Avatar Spotlight
King Egal
said on October 21, 2019

Dear Katy blake and Adam navis
21-october-2019 it is very important day for my world it fast time to Attended or participated to This brilliant program thank you for you welcoming spotlight English platform I am very interesting.

My name is Abdirahman Egal I come from somalia, I haven’t see falcon for my life because when falcon lives our country was 30 years ago because when somalia began civil wars in 1991 all animals like gone away they become emerge ration, I think falcon live Arab world or middle east but I am not sure.
I when to suggest to spotlight team to create us whatsApp group to improve us speaking skills,
Can I get this program as Pdf?
Thanks you very mach and god bless you.

zanaku's avatar
zanaku
said on October 21, 2019

There are a lot of hawks flying in my town.
When I eat a sandwich on the beach, a hawk takes it from behind.

Severino Ramos da Silva's avatar
Severino Ramos da Silva
said on October 22, 2019

From .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) (Severino Ramos)
To spotlight program
Subject to answer to the questions below
Location São Paulo city SP Brazil
Tuesday 22, October 2019

Dear Katy Blake, Adam Navis, and Michio Ozaki

I want to thank you for producing and writing more one great article for us brazilian people and others around the World.
Question 1 - Have you ever seen a falcon?
Answer 1 - Yes, I have. I have ever seen a falcon only in films on television, pictures in the books, and on the internet.
Question 2 - Is falcon racing popular where you live?
Answer 2 - No, it is not. Here in Brazil there are a lot of kinds of birds but falcon there is not.
Your regards,
God bless you
Severino Ramos
Brazil

Avatar Spotlight
Honneur
said on October 22, 2019

When I was in the Brazilian Army I was trained to be an expert to fight against “guerrilhas”. We studied a lot of actions that occurred in the past, in different parts of the world, like Vietnam, China, Africa, Cuba and so on. I was a Jungle Fighter and my behavior should be like an integrant of real “guerrilhas”... An expert never forgets the condition of an expert…

Avatar Spotlight
Honneur
said on October 22, 2019

I have seen falcons since I was a kid. Brazil is so great and has very biodiversity that if you maintain your eyes and ears open you can realize a lot of wonderful prizes nature brings to man.

Avatar Spotlight
Rone
said on October 26, 2019

I have not seen a falcon, and the falcon racing is not popular in my city, but I stayed sad in to see this story, the animal have to be free,  to be freedom to live. perhaps the solution for to finish this trade illegal be to finish with falcon racing.