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Wednesday, 28th September 2011
In General Japan News,

Arrested man claims he was 'minding captive birds'

A Japanese man claimed he was minding falcons and goshawks before he intended to release them back into the wild after he was arrested for illegally catching the endangered species.

That is according to the Mainichi Daily, which revealed a total of four men, including 46-year-old Yoshihiro Minoura, had been taken into custody on grounds of the offence.

Mr Minoura told the news provider: "I was a volunteer in Gifu Prefecture to take care of wild animals that were sheltered and was only keeping falcons and goshawks in order to return them to the wild."

The suspected criminal had his home raided in June by police, who also investigated five other properties before they uncovered a total of 12 falcons and goshawks, ten of which were native to Japan.

Perhaps the most surprising element of the story, however, is that Mr Minoura is a company president and falconer from Kani in the Gifu Prefecture.

He is head of the Nihon Takagari Bunka Hozonkai, while three other suspects in the case are also members of the Japan falconry culture preservation society.

Mr Minoura has been heavily involved in promoting falconry, even engaging in public performances of the activity.

His experience in the traditional culture spans 30 years, yet the defendant was also hit with a charge relating to the violation of the Gunpowder Control Law. It is alleged he did not store gun powder and other dangerous items adequately.

The four defendants all stand to face charges regarding the Act for the Conservation of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

Aichi Prefectural Police said the four men allegedly caught a total of four falcons and goshawks without the government's permission, which they then shared between the group during June 2009 and June 2011.

Another man aged in his 60s was arrested on similar grounds.

Goshawks are part of the hawks, vultures and eagles family. They have bright red eyes and a characteristic white eyebrow.

There is an estimated 410 pairs of the species breeding in the UK.

Posted by Susan Ballion  

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