Afghan authorities are welcoming a foreign-based NGO's actions to help curb a runaway trade in smuggled exotic birds from
An Afghan man with a falcon at a
refugee camp near Radja Bahoudine.
The group, Nada Al-Sheba Lel-Hayat Al-Bariya from United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.), invited journalists to an event to mark the freeing on March 17 of 30 such birds near the northern city of Mazar-e Sharif.
The animals had been seized from smugglers in the Middle East, where reports on such trafficking from
Last year alone, some 5,000 wild birds were smuggled out of
The most highly prized falcons can reportedly sell for as much as $100,000.
Afghan authorities are constrained by budget limitations and other obstacles to enforcement after decades of war and hardship, with infrastructure, security, and rebuilding projects generally regarded as more urgent priorities.
So Zahir was in Mazar-e Sharif on March 17 to lend government support to a newly launched wildlife protection center.
"Unfortunately, the smuggling of birds that is continuing from