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Centennial of the First Falconer
BY SHAMILA JAMALUDDIN September 27, 2018
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ABU DHABI: Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the late President of the UAE, practised falconry from a young age and was a great supporter of the sport.

Twenty-one years ago Sheikh Zayed re-introduced an old tradition by motivating people to give falcons back to the wild. 1,857 falcons have been released back into their natural habitat by the Sheikh Zayed Falcon Release Programme, according to EAD (Environment Agency, Abu Dhabi)

 In addition, the UAE was the first country in the world to issue passports for falcons to reduce illegal trade.

The sixteenth edition of Adihex (Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition), now running until September 29,2018 at Adnec (Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Center) is dedicated to celebrate the legacy of the late Sheikh Zayed.

It focuses on the late Sheikh Zayed’s interests in protection of the environment. Many educational activities have been developed around falconry, equestrian, environment and sustainable hunting.

The falcon is the national bird of the UAE and a symbol of force and courage. Falconry is not just a sport, it’s an Emirati tradition that has been practised more than 2.000 years ago, as expressed by EAD.

Moreover, the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital (ADFH), established by EAD and officially opened in October 1999, has become the world’s largest veterinary facility specialising in falcon medicine.

Adihex 2018, in the Capital, held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler’s Representative in Al Dhafra Region, Chairman of the Emirates Falconers’ Club, and inaugurated by His Highness Sheikh Humaid Bin Rashid Al Nuaimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ajman, on Tuesday, is particularly important as it celebrates the 100th birthday of the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

 The highlight this year is the display of a photo gallery of the late Sheikh Zayed during his falconry hunting trips captured by the lens of Mohamed Al Khalidi. The 3.000 rare photos of the founding father, most of which are being exhibited for the first time, is to mark the Year of Zayed.
 

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