ABU DHABI // Ivory mammoth tusks, silk carpets worth millions of dirhams and a rare handmade rifle are among the items being showcased at an annual Abu Dhabi exhibition.
The Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition’s 14th year is also its largest and expected to attract more than 100,000 visitors to the event, where companies from 40 countries are spread over an area of 40,000 square metres.
Sergey Gouralnik brought a collection of rare, exotic ivory mammoth tusks from Germany to be sold at the exhibition for the first time in the UAE. He was unsure whether there would be a market for them but said they would make a good conversation piece.
“This is more exciting than a car,” he said. “If you offer me a Ferrari or a Bentley, I would take this.”
The mammoth ivory trader said the tusks are not to be confused with the illegal ivory trade, Mr Gouralnik said. The collection of 14 tusks from Mammuthus primigenius – more commonly known as the woolly mammoth – were excavated from the Arctic Circle in northern Siberia, and are about 50,000 years old. They can cost up to Dh300,000.
Another striking item display is the large Italian-built search and rescue helicopter in the centre of the hall. Eleven of these AW139 helicopters are used in the UAE to transfer patients between hospitals and rescue civilians during emergencies such as flooding or fires.
Andrew Mottram, air crewman at the National Search and Rescue Centre, said it receives one or two calls per day. The aircraft can travel up at speeds of up to 200 kph and were used earlier this year during flooding to rescue 20 civilians.
“It only takes 30 minutes for us to get to any part of the UAE,” he said.
Exhibitors at Adihex are grouped differently this year, with the usual weaponry and equestrian sections as well as an outdoors equipment area with items such as thick sleeping bags for cold desert winters, weather-proof tents and camping cooking tools. Drones and even a golden bow that can be used for archery or jewellery are also on display.
The Emirates Arabian Horse Society is presenting educational workshops in the arena to teach students about the history, skills and handling of the Arabian horse, as well as practical demonstrations in the evenings. The Abu Dhabi Police K-9 unit has dog shows daily at the arena until Thursday, with German shepherds and terriers among the canines showing off their skills.
Mohammed Al Qassimi, a hunting enthusiast visiting Adihex, was eyeing a Dh50,000 rifle exhibited by Caracal International, a small arms manufacturer for civilians, law enforcement and military markets.
“I come every year to the exhibition and every year they display new and more advanced weapons,” he said.
James Purdey & Sons, the official gun and rifle maker of the British royal family, was displaying a rare, handmade Dh723,800 rifle at the exhibition. It was the 14th such rifle made by the company and the first one to begin production in the 21st century, the company said.
Adihex runs until Saturday at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre.