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800 falconers around the world flock to Abu Dhabi

posted on 13/12/2014: 2279 views

The biggest gathering of falconers in the world is now in Abu Dhabi, on the open grounds of Al Forsan Sport Club.

Altogether, there are 800 falconers here, from 80 countries, taking part in the third International Falconry Festival and Conference, organised by the Emirates Falconers Club (EFC) and the Cultural Programmes and Heritage Festivals Committee - Abu Dhabi.

"Falconry is very important to the UAE because it goes to the depths of our culture,” said Majid Al Mansouri, executive director of the EFC.

"Arabs have been practising falconry for thousands of years, not just as a necessity, but a source of socialisation too,” he added.

The conference kicked off on Thursday with the Unesco Action Plans meeting, when Kazakhstan, Pakistan and Italy announced their intention to join the UAE and the other 13 nations signed up with Unesco Intangible Cultural Heritage List for the protection and preservation of falconry.

The festival itself is organised as a result of the Unesco's acceptance of falconry as humanity's cultural heritage and, according to Al Mansouri, it will continue once every three years.

Just as in 2011, when the festival was held in Al Ain, the most impressive display of cultures and traditions from the farthest corners of the world are to be seen throughout the grounds.

There are yurts, nomadic Mongol tents, tepee, the traditional North American Indian tents, colourful South American, Eastern European, Central Asian dresses, not to mention hundreds of falcons, hawks and eagles.

"We tried to give the festival a different flavour this year by bringing different falconer clubs, who show off different falconry training and practices,” said Abdullah Al Qubaisi, member of the higher organising committee of the festival.

"We also have a rich educational programme, focusing on environmental and biodiversity conservation, with the participation of the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi, the International Houbara Fund for Conservation, the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital and the Al Ain Zoo, among others,” added Al Qubaisi. – Khaleej Times


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