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Sheikh Zayed Falcon Release Programme completes 16 years

posted on 17/05/2010: 3421 views



This year, 57 falcons were released in the wild above the Altai Mountain range in Kazakhstan and for the first time ever, a gyr falcon was released among them.

The release programme was organised under the aegis of the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD), with medical support being provided by the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital.

The Sheikh Zayed Falcon Release Programme was set up back in 1995 by the then President of the UAE, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who had realised the deteriorating situation of falcons in the wild.

This year's release, which came upon the directives of H.H Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, and with the support of H.H Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Ruler's Representative in the Western Region and Chairman of EAD, was carried out from May 7-8, 2010. by releasing wild caught falcons back into the wild.

This year's release involved 20 peregrines, 32 sakers and 5 gyrs. Ten of these falcons, including 5 sakers, 3 peregrines and 4 gyr, were fitted with a satellite tracking device to monitor the movement of the released falcons, 29 falcons belonging to H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan were released, keeping with the tradition set by his late father Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. The late Sheikh Zayed used to release his falcons back into the wild at the end of the hunting season in the hope that they will rejoin the wild population. Doing so, he was contributing to the growth and conservation of the wild population. Other falcons released were confiscated by concerned authorities as they entered the country illegally.

H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan said "Falconry has been practised for hundreds of years in the Arab World. In the past, Bedouins had trapped falcons on their migration routes over the Arab peninsula in Autumn. These falcons were used for hunting in order to provide more meat for their families. At the end of the hunting season, the falcons were released again and returned to their original breeding places." "As the life of the Bedouins has changed dramatically in a more modern world, the falconers began keeping them over the summer time to use them again for falconry in the coming year. This has resulted in a dramatic decrease of falcons in the wild," he added. H.H. Sheikh Hamdan encouraged falconers all over the UAE to donate their falcons to the programme at the end of the hunting season to be released back into the wild. – Emirates News Agency, WAM



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