700 falconers from around the world come together

Two-day festival features participants from 90 countries, celebrating the culture of falconry

Abu Dhabi: Celebrating the traditions and culture of falconry, the fourth International Festival of Falconry opened in Abu Dhabi on Friday, with more than 700 participants from 90 different countries taking part in the event.


Organised by the Emirates Falconers Club, the festival features more than 30 events and activities for visitors all related to falconry. These include the UAE section, which gives visitors an overview of the UAE’s projects and initiatives towards falconry preservation.

Visitors can also check out the falconry display, an exhibition that shows them the story of falconry in the UAE since 1976, with a selection of rare photographs also on display. With a host of countries from around the world also taking part, visitors have the opportunity to learn about the traditions of falconry from those countries as well.

“I have been a falconer since I was a young boy, falconry is a big part of our Emirati traditions and culture, and it has been passed down from generation to generation,” said Hamad Bu Helaiba, an Emirati falconer from the Abu Dhabi Falconers Club.

“Training and going out with falcons is a unique experience, you build a relationship and understanding with these birds. I hope to teach my son falconry just like my father did with me,” he added.

Ashraf Al Halah, from Jordan’s Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature, said it was important to preserve the traditions of falconry as it formed a unique part of Middle Eastern culture.

“Falconry is something very important for the Middle East’s traditions and culture; many communities in Jordan are involved in falconry just like communities in the UAE and other parts of the Arab world. It is a common bond that we all share.

“Falconry has always been a part of our history, with people using this activity for their daily lives and hunting. It is our duty to make sure that this tradition continues to get passed down to the next generations,” he added.

Enesh Eyeberdiyeva, a falconer from Turkmenistan, said the tradition of falconry was a global one.

“Falconry is becoming more and more popular by the day. In our country, young people are very interested in this tradition. Falconry around the world is a unique art and culture. As falconers, we all want the same thing, which is to maintain these traditions to ensure they remain there for the future.

“A festival like this is really great and we are so happy to be involved, because it gives us the opportunity to meet falconers from around the world — we get to talk to each other and learn from one another,” she added.

BOX

Fourth International Festival of Falconry

Where: Khalifa Park, Abu Dhabi

When: December 8-9

Timing: 9am-9pm

Admission: Open to public

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