Falcon contest spreads its wings to attract worldwide attention

A falcon beauty contest will be held in September at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre.

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ABU DHABI // A contest for the most attractive and largest hybrid falcons at the Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition has gained global fame and promoted the conservation of heritage and the environment.

The exhibition, organised by the Emirates Falconers Club with support from the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (Adach), has attracted competitors from falcon-breeding farms around the world.

"The goals of the contest also include encouraging the experts in raising falcons to produce bigger and more beautiful falcons in terms of feathers and colour," said Abdulla Al Qubaisi, the director of the exhibition.

The competition intends to protect wild falcons by encouraging the use of hybrid falcons raised in captivity as a fitting alternative.

Mr Al Qubaisi said hybrids were generally regarded as performance falcons, eliminating the need to hunt wild falcons.

Winners will be chosen from three types of hybrids: the Gyr Hurr, Gyr Shahin and the male Gyr, based on criteria set by experts.

Sheikh Zayed, the late President of the UAE, initiated many international projects for the protection of the types of wild falcons that faced extinction, according to Mohammed Khalaf Al Mazrouei, the director general of Adach.

"By 2002, the UAE falconers were relying by 90 per cent on falcons raised in captivity, which made the UAE the first country to fully rely on the use of falcons raised in captivity in the sport of hunting with falcons," Mr Al Mazrouei said.

The exhibition will be held at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre from September 14-17.