The falcons of Abu Dhabi

The falcon is the cultural symbol of the UAE. Originally used for hunting in the desert, falconry has become a very expensive sport practiced by the wealthy. Abu Dhabi even has its own hawk hospital, a luxury hotel on the cutting edge of veterinary medicine. Falcon owners from England, Russia and Italy do not hesitate to cross oceans and deserts to seek treatment for these popular birds.
A question of culture
• The vast majority of people in the UAE were originally Bedouins living in the desert. The falcon was a huge help in the hunt to survive in the desert. • Excavations and ancient manuscripts show that falconry existed for 2000 years in the Persian Gulf. • Falconry is very popular with Sheikhs and was elevated to a national sport by the ruling prince. • 16% of Emiratis practice falconry. • The United Arab Emirates are leading an initiative to register falconry as a form of intangible cultural heritage at UNESCO.

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Hospital for falcons Abu Dhabi
• The world's largest falcon hospital. • Processes nearly 5,000 birds each year. • Provides advanced surgical care for fractures and dislocations. • Has 60 air-conditioned single rooms. • Daily diet of quail and sometimes mice. • Equipped to diagnose diseases and infections. • Has an intensive care unit.

In 2007, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, donated

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$21 million to the Heritage Fund of falconry.

Luxury hunting sport
• Falcons are identified using information contained on a microchip. • Falcons can carry miniature satellite transmitters so their movements can be tracked.
Sources: uaeinteract.com; aqfa.org; falconhospital.com

• FALCON HELMETS: Style, size, material and colours vary as desired. Some extravagant options are made of gold, silver or kangaroo skin. • Prices range from $10,000

180 km/h

A falcon’s speed can reach

when diving on its prey • The training of a falcon requires 2 to 4 weeks during which the bird is given a name and remains permanently with the falconer.

to over $100,000

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