without falconry, the peregrine falcon would be extinct.
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without falconry, the peregrine falcon would be extinct.

Many people see only one thing…a bird on the glove or perch, not flying, and Some people think it is a one-sided, selfish and even cruel thing to have a falcon or hawk. And yet without falconry, the peregrine falcon would be extinct.

Their population began dwindling in the 1940s with the widespread use of the pesticide DDT, which caused birds contaminated by the substance to lay eggs with shells too thin for successful incubation of their offspring. By 1975 in the United States, for example, there were only 324 known nesting pairs of American peregrine falcons.

The banning of DDT in 1972 was an essential step toward the restoration of these raptors, but it was not enough, as it would take many years for the residual DDT in the environment to break down. In 1974, ornithologist and lifelong falconer Tom Cade became a founder of The Peregrine Fund, which “began its work with a simple mission to save the peregrine falcon from extinction.”

The Peregrine Fund supported captive breeding and reintroduction programs that brought about a repopulation of the species.

According to KQED Science, “the peregrine falcon has falconers to thank for its continued existence… Because of these efforts and the ban of DDT, peregrine falcons were removed from the Endangered Species List in 1999.”

We invite you to come and learn more about the African Peregrine Falcon and meet Abyss (our resident African Peregrine) and discover how we at Wildraptor Conservation go about rehabilitating injured birds and how we use education in our quest to conserve South Africa’s Raptors.

You can find our center at the Zebula Golf Estate & Spa