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Saturday, May 8, 2021

‘Qatar Falcons’ released into the wild as campaign takes flight

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For the forth year in a row, the Al Gannas Society has released falcons into the wild as part of a rehabilitation initiative.

Scores of falcons were released into the wild as part of Al Gannas Society’s ‘Qatar Falconers’ campaign, which aims to preserve biological diversity and protect the environment.

The President of the Al Gannas Society Ali bin Khatem Al-Mehshadi said the move follows  the footsteps of Qatar’s first falconers, who initially recognised the importance of promoting wild life for falcons to help with their reproduction.

The birds, which will be connected to a satellite tracking device, will be fully examined and will have their blood samples taken.

Secretary of the Society Zayed Al-Ali Al-Maadeed highlighted the importance of raising awareness for Qatar’s falconers because of the dangers they face, such as electrocution, poisoning, and being shot during migration periods.

A tradition as old as time

What started as a means of hunting for food in the Arabian Peninsula has become one of the most important cultural elements of Qatar.

The roots of the ancient art of falconry can be traced to the 7th century, when it began as an easier method of hunting for food.

Bedouins in what is now modern-day Qatar mastered the art, and when falcons were no longer needed for hunting, falconry became a time-honoured tradition. The sport involves a deep connection and relationship between the raptor and falconer which develops with rigorous training.

In 2008, the Al Gannas Society opened as a cultural association for hunters and falconers, providing facilities and equipment, encouraging research, and hosting international and regional events.

Read also: Katara S’hail Falcons Exhibition 2020 takes flight

Falcons are so respected in Qatari culture that some raptors can cost thousands of riyals. There is a hospital specifically for falcons in Souq Waqif.

Whether in the winter when most falconry events take place, or in the summer when activity calms down, the falcon is considered a symbol of wealth and status in Qatar and all over the Gulf all year round.


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