The 4th International Festival of Falconry 2017, which saw the participation of over 700 falconers, researchers and experts from leading clubs, organisations and international falconry schools from over 90 countries, concluded today in Abu Dhabi.
The six-day festival highlighted the UAE’s leading role in conserving the environment and caring for its heritage, as well as in hunting and sustainability.
The first three days of the festival, which was held under the patronage of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, involved a series of workshops in a "Desert Camp" that took place at the Telal Resort in Al Ain-Remah, where falconers spent an enjoyable time filled with excitement in the heart of the desert.
They visited live displays of falcons presented by the Emirates Falconers Club, in co-operation with the Abu Dhabi Falconers Club.
The falconers, researchers and participants also discussed falconry-related issues, such as the heritage of falconry throughout history and international hunting agreements and legislation.
Technical workshops were held on how to create leather hoods for falconry and equipment with falconers from Italy and South Africa.
A presentation on location services and tracking tools was also held, as well as discussions on the strategies of the International Association of Falconry, in a session, titled, "Women and Falconry," presented by Alessandra Oliveto.
The festival was an opportunity for falconers and researchers to connect and engage with each other.
The Emirates Falconers Club organised, among the activities of the festival, an award ceremony for 27 falconers and researchers, who were the pioneers who witnessed the 1st International Festival of Falconry, which took place in 1976, under the patronage and guidance of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.
This year’s festival attracted the interest of the general public and saw 30 percent more visitors compared to the last edition.
H.H. Sheikh Hamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chief of the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince’s Court, inaugurated the activities of the festival, which took place at Khalifa Park yesterday.
He also toured the photo gallery, "Falconry Legacy and Deep-Rooted Heritage," which displayed a collection of rare and unique photographs of the festival’s history since 1976.
Mohamed Bin Ahmed Al Bawordi, Deputy Chairman of Emirates Falconers Club, expressed his thanks to H.H. Sheikh Hamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chief of Abu Dhabi Crown Prince’s Court, for his honourable presence at the inauguration of the festival and he praised the official sponsorship of the festival beginning with the generous patronage of His Highness, the President of the United Arab Emirates, and the unconditional support of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.
He also expressed appreciation for the extreme interest of the media that were from local, regional and international outlets and the significant efforts exerted by the United Arab Emirates towards protecting the environment and the conservation of raptors and preserving the noble heritage of the country and to all the relevant countries concerned with this human heritage on a global level.
The "Sheikh Zayed Falconry Heritage Library" and the "Mohamed bin Zayed Raptor Conservation Fund," were launched during the festival.
The next edition of the festival, which is held every 3 years since its second edition in 2011, will be held in 2020. Its first edition took place in 1976, under the patronage and guidance of the late Sheikh Zayed.
The festival is the largest gathering of falconers in the world as it brings together falconers, researchers and experts and several local and international organisations dedicated to the conservation of the falconry heritage from all the different continents of the world.
The festival also includes several officials from UNESCO and international representatives concerned with the conservation of the falconry heritage and protecting the environment.
It attracts the attention of local and international media and it represents international confidence in the United Arab Emirates and the ability of the country to organize such a global event.