“The Falcon Thief,” by Joshua Hammer is a fascinating nonfiction book on illegal smuggling of eggs of birds of prey for both private collectors and sportsmen bent on breeding the birds for high-stakes competitions in the Middle East.
Jeffrey Lendrum, an Irish national was apprehended on May 3, 2010 with a curious package strapped to his stomach, the eggs of the endangered wild peregrine falcons. The book goes on to uncover a black market with millions of dollars at stake for the illegal trafficking of endangered birds of prey such as the peregrine falcon and the white gyrfalcon, known for their extreme speed and superior eyesight.
The book covers the history of falconry dating back to the Middle Ages and then the study of oology, the study of bird eggs, a branch of ornithology, the study of birds. It is all very interesting, but also sad, that people for fun or for the thrill of it are illegally obtaining eggs from these endangered animals, and in some cases cannot help themselves, despite facing jail time and heavy fines when apprehended.
It was a very different kind of read and at times got bogged down in the details and the numerous criminals trying to illegally export protected species from Great Britain to South Africa to Argentina to Canada and in most cases ending up at the residence of a wealthy shiek in the Middle East. While Hammer never named names in the book about who the potential buyers are, he was convinced that the market always goes through the Middle East, despite international laws in place even in the Gulf states.
The book was very informative and interesting. I recommend it.
Get a copy of the book from Amazon here.
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