ABU DHABI, 29 May (BelTA - Emirates News Agensy). - The Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition (ADIHEX) has been, for many years now, providing limitless opportunities to promote sustainable hunting as well as Emirati and international falcon breeding companies, through its thousands of visitors.
Like birds of a feather, Emirati falconers and visitors from GCC countries and various parts of the world flock to ADIHEX to purchase elite captive-bred falcons from local and international farms.
The exhibition, which was launched in 2003, strives to enhance the falcon breeding industry worldwide. Many falconers and experts attribute to ADIHEX the success of efforts to use captive falcons in the practice of falconry, and the remarkable increase in the number of their production centres and the development of their industry.
The 19th edition (ADIHEX 2022) witnessed the sale of the most expensive falcon in its history, where the American-produced "Pure Gyre - Ultra White" was sold for more than AED 1 million (around US$275,000) in the falcon auction that is held annually as part of the exhibition's event programme.
ADIHEX has become a leading global platform showcasing the finest Captive-bred falcons in Abu Dhabi. In the past, falconers from the UAE and the region used to travel abroad to purchase falcons from private farms in Europe and America. However, the Exhibition now provides them with an ideal international platform in Abu Dhabi to buy and sell the best-produced falcons from the world's top falcon breeding farms.
The great success of the auction in the previous edition represents an important step towards the upcoming surprises and new additions in the world of falcon auctions and beauty contests, according to the Higher Organising Committee of ADIHEX, which is intensifying its preparations for the next edition.
Promising more opportunities and offerings, the 20th edition of ADIHEX is scheduled to be held from 23rd to 29th August, 2023, sponsored by the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi, the International Fund for Houbara Conservation (IFHC), and the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) where the event takes place. This year's sector partner will be Caracal International LLC, with industry partners to include Mohamed bin Zayed Raptor Conservation Fund, UAE Equestrian and Racing Federation, European Foundation for Falconry and Conservation, International Association for Falconry and Conservation of Birds of Prey, Dubai International Horse Fair, and the Game Fair – France, while the official automotive partner will be ARB Emirates.
The Falcon Auction is one of the most attractive events for falconers and enthusiasts at the Exhibition, which is considered a valuable opportunity for companies operating in the falconry sector, as well as for owners of falcon breeding farms and centres that produce the finest and best falcons.
The falcon production industry and its supplies are witnessing remarkable growth due to the great demand from falconers in the Gulf region to acquire the best captive-bred falcons for practicing their hobby and preparing to participate in major competitions and obtain advanced positions.
In 1989, President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan directed to benefit from the breeding of falcons in captivity for sustainable use and to alleviate pressure on endangered wild falcons. Years later, Abu Dhabi established many projects inside and outside the UAE that succeeded in producing thousands of captive-bred falcons, including falcon farms in the United Kingdom and many European countries. Moreover, appropriate methods were developed to train them for hunting by specialised teams.
Moreover, Abu Dhabi supports genetic research and studies of falcons, and it was able through collaboration with the Wildlife Conservation Consultancy Group, Cardiff University, and the Beijing Institute of Genomics, to determine the genetic makeup of the Eurasian Saker Falcon and the Peregrine Falcon, and to identify genes related to feather colour in the gyrfalcon, as well as using characteristics of DNA to select individuals from wild falcons and study their ability to survive in Mongolia, in addition to discovering the overall genome map of the peregrine and saker falcons.
The breeding of falcons in captivity represented a real revolution in falconry and sustainability and the revival of this authentic heritage. In the Middle East, the use of captive-bred falcons has become widespread in the Gulf states.
Indeed, the use of captive-bred falcons for falconry has contributed to relieving pressure on wild falcons and increase their numbers. Abu Dhabi's research and scientific efforts have also contributed to improving the types of produced falcons to become more immune to fungi and diseases. Furthermore, Abu Dhabi has worked on producing selected types characterised by its distinctive hunting and aesthetic qualities.
ADIHEX succeeded in promoting the idea that alternative captive-bred falcons have proven their high hunting abilities, and that they are not less efficient or distinguished than wild falcons, provided that they are properly cared for and trained based on sound principles. Some falcon breeders were looking for birds that are caught in the wild instead of those that are bred and raised in captivity, due to the misconception that they have better hunting abilities, despite the lack of any scientific evidence to support such conviction.
The Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition played a major role in the transformation of falconers in the region to almost exclusively using captive-bred falcons in the sport of falconry, which is deeply rooted in the heritage of the UAE, and thus expanding the establishment of falcon farms around the world to meet the growing needs for the practice of falconry.