Bahraini royal family’s plan to open peregrine falcon center on North Yorkshire farm approved

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Hambleton District Council approved a House of Khalifa-funded conservation program to establish the center on a farm off Dawney Lane in Easingwold to export purebred racing and hunting birds, including some would be in danger internationally, towards the Middle East.

The authority’s planning committee had previously welcomed the proposed investment in the rural economy by the world’s fourth richest royal family, which would be worth £ 15 billion.

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However, they postponed the decision on whether or not to allow large-scale development last month, fearing the birds could clash with birds at the York Bird of Prey Center, in Burn Hall, Huby, just a mile away. and a half away.

A peregrine falcon

Work is already well advanced on the center, which will include a natural barn for couples 98 meters long, quarantine and incubator buildings for brooders and two barns for gerkin hawks.

At the same time, the center will also include three large female breeding rooms, a circular enclosure 50 meters in diameter and buildings 84 meters, 68 meters and 46 meters long for parrots, eagles and condors respectively.

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The planning committee has heard since last month’s meeting French biologist Peter Thomas opposed the conservation program, saying it could endanger other endangered birds.

He said, “I understand that this can provide a supply of birds for the market, thereby deterring the heinous theft and smuggling of eggs and chicks into the wild.

“I am aware that falconry has traditionally been very popular among the rulers of countries in the Middle East. However, they have targeted the cranes and migrating storks, which are critically endangered, and I fear that with the establishment of the breeding center, the killings will only increase.

In response, Sara Skalman, who runs the program and will lead the facility with fellow falcon breeding expert Mark Robb for the Khalifa family, told the committee that it was “really unfortunate that some falconers don’t follow the law.” .

She added: “It is even more regrettable that this tends to have the whole falconer community judged on the wrongdoing of a minority, but I can assure you that our contacts in Bahrain respect the law and do not belong. to this minority.

The meeting learned that the development had been well received by the community and following discussions with the York Bird of Prey Center, which exercises its birds in the area, it was agreed that the Easingwold Center would not fly outdoor birds on site or in the surrounding area. region.

Planning conditions were also agreed that all flights to the Easingwold center would be in mesh enclosures on site to prevent birds from the breeding center from coming into contact with other birds that may overfly the property. .

Before unanimously approving the plans, councilors urged applicants to ensure they have filed planning applications before starting work on any future development.

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