© 2009 Albert A Rasch
I recently received the FWC alert on the comment period for the Delisting of the Peregrine Falcon. As many of you know, the peregrine has made a spectacular comeback from the brink; mostly through the efforts of a dedicated group of people, many of which were falconers. As the peregrine population is now stable, Florida falconers would like to be included as part of the management plan.
To that end I have taken information I got from Issac at Another Falconry Blog
and crafted the following letter:
As a Florida resident, sportsman, and supporter of all outdoor activities, I feel that the delisting of the Peregrine and the management plan for it are of utmost importance.
I would like to point out the following:
Management of peregrines for use in falconry should be based on sound biology, not politics. Politics is not Science and politics should not be allowed to interfere with sound scientific principles.
Healthy raptor populations are not affected by the practice of falconry, it has been proven on more than one occasion that falconry has no impact on raptor populations.
The peregrines who were being held for falconry in captivity were used as breeder birds to repopulate the wild population. Falconers designed the current methods used to breed raptors in captivity to helps repopulate peregrines.
Falconers went to wild Peregrine nest sites and removed the un-cracked eggs to be incubated and then returned chicks once they were hatched to the nest sites.
All subspecies of peregrine populations in North America are healthy, self-sustaining, and require no special management for falconry. The peregrine falcon populations in the U.S. have continued to increase and show no sign of having reached an upper limit.
Peregrines were delisted (no longer requiring special protection) by the USFWS in 1999, 10 years ago. Now that their populations have been restored, restrictions on the use of the peregrine for falconry should be no greater than those for any other raptor with a healthy population.
Since 1999, when the peregrine was removed from the federal list of threatened and endangered species, the peregrine population in the U.S. has more than doubled and is now several times larger than the recovery goal and the historic pre-DDT population.
A fair estimate of the North American peregrine population is 20,000 breeding pairs. Being healthy, this population produces 40,000 young per year. Using the USFWS's conservative allowable take of 5% of the young produced per year, a take limit of 2,000 peregrines per year for falconry should be permitted. [It should be noted that with the number of licensed falconers in the U.S. is at around 4,000, only a small fraction of which would be interested in flying passage peregrine falcons.]
The take of passage (first year and fully independent of parental care) peregrines for falconry should be permitted in all 48 lower states and Alaska.
No special considerations, limits, or quotas are necessary to protect the peregrine beyond those in the falconry regulations (i.e. only immature raptor may be taken and only two raptors may be taken per year per permittee).
Studies have shown that passage raptors taken for falconry and released the following spring have a better chance for survival then if they had been left in the wild.
Again, I would urge the FWC to allow falconry to take its proper place in the sporting traditions of the state.
Albert A Rasch
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles
The Range Reviews: Tactical
My Home Address
Feel free to copy it verbatim and forward it to: peregrine@MyFWC.com
Albert A Rasch
The Hunt Continues...