FEATHERED COCAINE – The international Trade in Large Falcons

 FEATHERED COCAINE is not a wildlife documentary. It is a documentary about the international trade of falcons. After the trade of drugs, people and weapons, smuggling falcons is ranked No 4 in the list of the most profitable illegal trades. Most people are not aware that the effects of the falcon trade has exerted huge influence over thousands of years on politics, economy and society all around the world. FEATHERED COCAINE reveals in an investigative way the contexts between the trade of falcons and historical events, where royal dynasties, institutions like the CIA and the KGB, the oil industry and Al Caida were involved.

My name is Thorkell Hardarson and I am 1 of 2 directors of Feathered Cocaine. Many rant on the Internet about Mr Parrot and the film. Most of them have 2 things in common: 1. they have never met Mr Parrot. 2. they have not seen the film. Yet they feel entitled to talk trash about things they have no knowledge of … like the genial C0CK00. If Parrot’s conservation work is “unsubstantiated”, why are Saker falcons going regionally extinct across Central Asia where Arab falconers have access?

Feathered Cocaine: Interview with the Filmmakers

Feathered Cocaine – IDFA 2010 trailer.mov


5 comments to FEATHERED COCAINE – The international Trade in Large Falcons

  • Falcoscot

    If anyone wants to see what the Arabs are doing for falcon conservation maybe they could take a look at the work of the Middle East Falcon Research Group who in 2010 completed the erection of 5000 nest boxes for Saker Falcons across Mongolia :- http://www.mefrg.org

    There is no getting away from the fact there are birds illegally taken from Asia to supply the falconry trade in the Middle East, mainly Saudi Arabia, but this isn’t helped by the supression of captive breeding in the West by Cites. We see press releases of Gyr Falcons being intercepted at Moscow airport every year but at the same time USFWS are making it very difficult for US falcon breeders to export captive bred Gyr Falcons to the Middle East as they are insisting on even the smallest of breeders become Cites Registered, a process which the Secretariat themselves say “serves no useful purpose” and is forcing many US falcon breeders to run down their projects.
    CITES is making it very hard for falcon breeders in the West to supply anything but hybrids to the Middle East so with very limited access to wild populations of Gyr, Peregrine and Saker Falcons that Cites gives it makes it very difficult for commercial breeders to supply a demand for pure species. Even the captive bred populations of pure species are mainly cross sub-species so have very little conservation benefit in terms of a source for re-introduction. Until there is a mechanism for commercial falcon breeders to access fresh blood from the wild there will always be an unneccessary pressure on wild populations from the Middle East.
    Falconry is not a sport to the Gulf Arabs, it is part of their culture and has been recognised as so by UNESCO, the issues relating to this need addressing and in my opinion “fathered coccaine” does absolutely nothing to further this.

  • gamehawker

    great post falcoscot

  • Falcoscot

    It’s quite sad really Gamehawker, no raptor ever needs to face extinction as long as the habitat is there for them because of the pioneering work falconers have done with captive breeding and yet they are still not allowed in on population management until the last minute, when a species is on the verge of disappearing.

    There is no place for protectionism in the 21st Centuary, the only way many of these species will survive into the 22nd Centuary and beyond is by conservation management.

    The Falcon is part of Arab culture and has been for hundreds of years. Cites needs to find a way to address this but they are 40 years out of date and are still treating commercial falcon breeders as they did old style animal dealers when the former are the only thing standing between a sustainable wild population and the extinction of Peregrines, Sakers and Gyr Falcons across Asia and the Russian Arctic.

    History will show that Cites as it stands today was a disaster because of it’s manipulation by groups who see trade in wildlife as immoral even though Cites was created on the theory that sustainable trade in wildlife is positive to conservation.

  • They will never allow wild take for breeding or falconry in this country because of the persecution raptors still face and the non existant laws for birds of prey in the UK. Theres to many back garden breeders throwing together birds with no idea of bloodlines or welfare.

  • Falcoscot

    But there are professional breeders with the ability to create “stud book” populations for re-introduction should the need ever arise or even to boost the presently persecuted populations. Why allow nest sites to fail year in, year out, when eggs could be artificially incubated in saftey and the young hacked back in a secure environment, there’s a huge opportunity to boost raptor populations in this country which would go some way to address the persecution they are suffering.