Arrest for Poaching Grey-faced Buzzard Eagle in Southern Taiwan

Police Officers from Manjhou Subprecinct in Pingtung arrested Li Fong-rong 48 after they found six dead Grey-Faced Buzzard Eagles in a compartment of his motorcycle late Monday night (Oct. 16) according to a report in the Oct. 18th edtion of the Chinese-language China Times. Li claimed that he found the birds dead by the side of the road but police referred his case to the Pingtung Prosecutor's Office for violation of Taiwan's Wildlife Conservation Act. This was the first arrest for illegally hunting the endangered species since 2002.

Shih Jin-fang, Direcctor of the Kending National Park Administration Office, said that the arrest showed the determination of the National Park and local police to arrest anyone illegally hunting in the area.

He argued that reports of that 700 Grey-Faced Buzzard Eagles being slaughtered nightly were wildly exaggerated and the results of rumors circulated on the Internet. These reports were then widely reported through the local media and have lowered morale among local law enforcement officers and conservationists.

According to the National Park and the Taiwan Association for Birds of Prey, 3,541 Grey-Faced buzzards passed through the Hengchun Penninsula on October 17th bringing the total for 2006 (Fall) to 31,000. This is the highest number report in more than 10 years.

If 700 Grey-Faced Buzzard Eagles were being killed every night, Shih argues, more than 10,000 would have been killed during the last two weeks, making it impossible for more than 20,000 Grey-Faced Buzzard Eagles to have passed through Hengchun this fall.

The story also includes a picture showing five of the dead buzzard eagles laid out on pieces of paper with a technician identifying their wounds. Each piece of paper indicates the location of each bird's fatal wound.