ABU DHABI // Falconry has been central to the Emirati way of life for generations, and it remains as popular as ever in the sporting landscape of the UAE.
The Qasr Al Hosn Festival is the perfect place to learn how falcons became such an essential part of the local culture and came to feature so prominently as a national tradition.
Dr Zubair Medammal is a falcon researcher from the zoology department at the University of Calicut in Kerala, India.
“I am the only non-Arabic member of the Emirate Falconers Club in Abu Dhabi,” Dr Medammal said. “I have a PhD in falcons and have been researching them for 21 years, partly at the Sheikh Zayed Falcon Hospital, to research how these beautiful birds are used for hunting and training.”
He is working on a documentary on his work, in Arabic and English, that will include footage from the festival.
“The forefathers of the UAE saw a falcon hunting while they were travelling in the desert by camel,” Dr Medammal said.
“They saw how the bird would catch much larger birds like a duck; rabbits or even a small gazelle, so they knew it was very clever.
“They then trained them up as hunting birds for their own use and they have been part of the culture ever since.”
Source: uae news