posted on 04/06/2005: 502 views
For the second consecutive year, a falcon beauty contest will be held this year as part of the Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition, organizers said on Friday.
This contest is part of our effort to promote awareness as well as the ethics of falconry," said Mohammed Khalaf Al Mazouri, member of the Board of Directors of the Emirates Falconers Club. The contest underscores the UAE's keenness to conserve some of the most endangered falcon species, said Mazroui.
He pointed out that although falconry is a popular local sport in the UAE, yet the country has been keen to strike a balance between preserving this local heritage while at the same time striving to protect the falcons.
The UAE is actively in involved in several falcon protection projects in conjunction with regional and international bodies. One of the most successful projects is the crossbreeding project in Al Ain, where certain species are crossbred for the purposes of falconry.
Considered one of the largest cross-breeding farms in the world, Al Ain farm produces more than 300 captive-bred falcons a year. The farm is quite capable of responding to the needs of over 15,000 falconers in the Middle East region. Captive-bred falcons have proved to be as efficient as wild falcons in everyway, said Al Mazroui, adding that the recourse to bred falcons will not only save wild falcons from extinction but also increase their population.
"Hundreds of captive-bred falcons, including Gyr and Shaheen species will contest for the first position. We hope that the beauty contest will encourage falconers to resort to captive-bred falcons as the best alternative for wild falcons." said Mazroui.
Al Mazroui stressed that falcon conservation is one of the key objectives of the Emirates Falconers Club which was established in 2001 under the Chairmanship of Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Foreign Affairs.
Since 1995, an estimated 5,000 UAE falconers shifted to the use of captive-bred falcons on the initiative of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.
By 2002, UAE falconers were 90% reliant on captive-bred falcons and the UAE became the first country in the Arab world to rely on captive-bred falcons.
Al Mazroui noted that the exhibition will feature other forms of competitions such as photography and painting.
A number of photographers and painters will participate in the contest.
The best painting depicting the heritage of the GCC region will be selected from among the entries which will be submitted. Other categories of competition will include poetry and hunting paraphernalia.
The Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition will be organized by the Emirates Falconer's Club in conjunction with the General Exhibitions' Corporation (GEC). Over 98% of the exhibition space having been booked and more than 300 exhibitors from 30 countries are expected to participate at the show.
Held under the patronage of Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, the exhibition is dubbed as the largest of its kind in the region and one of landmark events in the global calendar. (The Emirates News Agency. (The Emirates News Agency, WAM)
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