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Abu Dhabi falconers advocate for extended traditional hunting season after successful three-month period

Abu Dhabi falconers advocate for extended traditional hunting season after successful three-month period
25 Jan 2024 10:48

HALA AL KHAYAT (ABU DHABI)

The three-month traditional falconry season, known as “Al Saqarah”, concluded last Saturday with the issuance of 2,603 specific licences for traditional hunting by the Abu Dhabi Environment Agency. Falconers are now calling for a comprehensive study to explore the possibility of extending future falconry hunting seasons until February or March each year.

Ahmed Al Hashemi, the Director of the Terrestrial and Marine Biodiversity Sector at the agency, reported a significant surge in interest from falconers of all age groups during the current hunting season. This underscores the enduring enthusiasm for falconry, a cherished Emirati traditional sport passed down through generations.

Al Hashemi told Aletihad that the season coincided with the annual Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition, aligning with the emirate’s commitment to supporting this traditional sport, well-known both in the country and the region.

This event encourages falconers to obtain traditional hunting licences issued by the emirate, emphasising the agency’s goal of promoting sustainable practice, with stringent conditions ensuring the preservation of wildlife.

Notably, traditional hunting is restricted to open areas, maintaining a minimum distance of two kilometres from main and sub-roads, and avoiding prohibited zones such as natural reserves, pastoral areas, forests, as well as residential, military, and petroleum zones.

Al Hashemi clarified that only licensed falconers are permitted to hunt specific species, like Houbara Bustards, and must use registered falcons under the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment. Compliance with these regulations ensures that traditional hunting aligns with legal and environmental standards.

Falconers praised the mandatory licensing system, emphasising its role in preserving the rich tradition of falconry while contributing to sustainable hunting practices. Falconer Abdullah Al Hamli lauded the efforts of Abu Dhabi in establishing reserves and increasing the captive population of Houbara Bustards. He spoke about the importance of finding a balance between practising this authentic Emirati sport and ensuring the long-term sustainability of all wildlife.

Advocating for a possible extension of the hunting season, Falconer Hamdan Al Qamzi proposed the release of bred Houbara Bustards in various areas of Abu Dhabi.

Falconer Hazza Al Housani stressed the significance of licenses in providing legal opportunities for falconers to impart their knowledge to younger generations within a monitored framework.

Another falconer, Mohammed Al Qubaisi, emphasised that obtaining hunting licenses has been instrumental in maintaining the continuity of falconry, rooted in the customs and values of society. He encouraged the youth to draw upon ancestral experiences within a legal and supervised framework, ensuring the sustainability of falconry for generations to come.

Source: WAM
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