Iraq: Serbian Vulture Held For Ransom In Iraq and Probably for Falconry. One Problem – Vultures Are NOT Used for Falconry !



25/4/18 – Today we have been working with Slavica in Serbia regarding 2 Griffon Vultures which appear to have been kidnapped (or birdnapped ?) in Iraq after they had flown more than 2,500km from a wildlife centre in Serbia.  One of the birds was fully ringed by a specialist in Serbia; and so via the data on the rings it carries, be traced back to Serbia.  The other bird is un ringed, but not all birds from Serbia were ringed at the time, and it is possible that this second bird ‘paired up’ with the ringed bird for migration, arriving in Iraq.


The really sad part about all this is that it is expected that the birds may have been kidnapped for falconry purposes; as a ransom was requested by telephone.  But vultures are never used in falconry; as they only eat from dead and decaying corpses already on the ground.  Falconry does not work in the same way;  Wherever the birds are located; they are effectively the property of the Serbian state.   If they are injured in Iraq for example, then they can be sorted by a specialist within Iraq but then they have to be released back into the wild if and when they recover.


Here is the link to the letter (draft only – without headers) which has been sent to Iraq, UK and USA embassies in Iraq, asking for involvement in this case.  The Iraq embassy in Serbia has also been asked to take action.

Gyps fulvus_Iraq_eng

In the following pictures you can see the original time in Serbia when the bird was taken and ringed by specialist ornithologists.  The ring numbers which were fitted can be clearly seen to show that the bird originated and is recorded as being Serbian origin.

It is hoped that these pictures can be used to help identify the bird in Iraq if it is captured back from the people asking for a ransom.






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