ULAN BATOR, Jan. 12 (Xinhua) -- Mongolia announced a five-year ban on the export of its iconic but threatened saker falcons Saturday.
The government said in a press release the decision was aimed at increasing numbers of the bird, which has an important position in Mongolian history and culture.
It estimated about 6,800 falcons were present in Mongolia during summer months but most depart for the winter.
Sakers play an important role in Mongolia's traditional herding life, keeping the ecological balance by eating pastureland rodents such as mice.
The country's national bird, Sakers have been exported to Gulf countries such as Kuwait and Bahrain. They are also illegally caught and sold abroad for high prices by poachers, which the government has sought to fight through law enforcement agencies.