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Wild Take Statement

Hawk Board statement on the granting of licences to take eyass peregrine falcons

British falconry and hawk keeping have been for many years dependent upon the breeding of birds of prey in captivity. This situation has not changed.

The recent granting by Natural England of a licence to take up to six eyass peregrines for future breeding, in order to conserve the gene pool of British peregrines in captivity and for use in falconry, comes after careful analysis of the application and evidence from the scientific bodies that monitor wild raptor populations in Britain. Individuals have always had the opportunity to apply for licences and applications are considered by our statutory authorities, on merit.

UK wildlife legislation is predicated upon the need to conserve and protect wild populations. Given that the peregrine numbers are currently buoyant, the taking of limited numbers will have no impact upon the wellbeing of that species in the wild.

Falconry is recognised by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage and is estimated to be up to 4,000 years old with its traditions and culture passed down through generations. Furthermore, falconers have been instrumental in the captive breeding, management, and reintroduction of a number of threatened species of birds of prey and their expertise is invaluable in conservation terms.

Across the world falconers have controlled legal access to wild populations of raptors following the principles of sustainable use. In this respect UK authorities are following established conservation practice.

All birds of prey used in British falconry and allied activities, are clearly identifiable (either by closed ring or microchip) and their origin and legality is verifiable. Captive breeding will continue to supply legal progeny to meet our needs.

Dr Gordon Mellor


The Hawk Board

Falconry – Inscribed by UNESCO as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Mankind

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Falconry - Inscribed by UNESCO as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Mankind


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