In Chile, eggs of the rare Albino peregrine falcon was stolen from a nest but have been rescued from being trafficked to Dubai.
It was to be trafficked for tens of thousands of dollars but Jeffrey Lendrum, an Irishman who is a convicted wildlife trafficker, was caught at São Paulo airport.
An anonymous tip was given to the Brazilian authorities about Lendrum’s presence in Brazil and might be on a mission to make a great wildlife heist. He was detained for attempting to smuggle four albino peregrine falcon eggs inside an incubator.
According to officials, the eggs can fetch about US$80,000 in the black market. Lendrum’s intentions were to incubate and hatch the eggs, and then sell them in the market.
In 2010, Jeffrey was accused and convicted for smuggling some rare peregrine falcon eggs. He was apprehended with 14 eggs stuffed in socks and tied to his body with bandages to keep them warm at the Birmingham International Airport. The eggs, worth £70,000, and were set to be smuggled to Dubai, according to a report by The Guardian. Lendrum was sentenced to 30 months in jail.
There is a good market for the falcon birds particularly in countries where falconry is an established sports. The particular specie that Lendrum is trafficking is quite popular to falconry enthusiasts since it is the fastest bird in the world. The rare albino falcon is capable of flying at a speed of 385 kilometres per hour.
Although, generally falcons can be found in different places around the world, but the Patagonia region at the southern tip of South America is home to the rare albino species. This is said to have a very high cost in black market.
The authorities in Chile tried to save the four eggs in Lendrum’s possession but only one egg hatched. The hatched bird was taken to a nursery in capital Santiago, and later returned to Patagonia region in a nest.
“The idea was to repatriate them quickly, before they were born, to avoid the human imprint – so they wouldn’t see a human as their mother, protector or food provider,” said Rafael Asenjo of Chile’s agriculture and livestock service., in a report filed by The Guardian.
Jeffrey is barred for four and a half years in prison.