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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 October 2018

Camel tiaras and falcon drones: Abu Dhabi's eclectic world of hunting on show at Adihex

Now in its 16th year, Adihex represents a one-stop shop for hunters

A stall selling jewellery for animals and a clinic offering on the spot health checks for falcons: welcome to the wonderful world of the Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition.

Now in its 16th year, Adihex represents a one-stop shop for hunters, selling everything from the camping equipment needed for expeditions, to the trips themselves — and everything in between.

The event, which ends on Saturday, was attended by Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, who toured the pavilions, speaking to exhibitors at the weekend.

Al Magnaus Hypermarket is one of the companies participating in the exhibition. It claims to sell everything a hunter needs, including devices which imitate bird calls.

“You can choose the sound of the bird you want to hunt, then you take this machine with you and, when you use it, the bird thinks another bird is calling him,” said sales manager Mohammed Rahal.

The shop even sells a modified drone, produced in its own workshop, to encourage falcons to fly higher. The drone, which contains a box below with space for a live pigeon, costs Dh3,900.

“When it is 300 metres or 400m away, you open the box with a remote control and the falcon goes to the pigeon,” said Mr Rahal.

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Miwako Yanagisawa is also exhibiting her handmade products at the event. The jeweller from Japan, who is more accustomed to making human jewellery, turned her hand to creating pieces for falcons, camels and horses three years ago.

This is her second year showing her products at the event. Her range includes falcon hoods with gold leaf, pearls and precious jewels costing upward of $1,300 (Dh4,775), as well as head pieces for camels and horses for $40,000. The head pieces, or bandeaus, include precious stones such as diamonds, emeralds and sapphires.

“Normally these pieces are used in tiaras for women,” she said, showing off the large aquamarine stone on one of the bandeaus.

“Normally I make them for horses, but I want to try selling it for camels too.”

She has not sold any of the jewellery yet, but is hopeful of finding a supplier to sell her wares in the region.

In addition to purchasing the products to complete the hunting look, attendees can also buy falcons at the event, according to Fahad Amer Al Badi, who works at Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital.

The hospital has set up a special clinic to check over falcons before they are purchased by their new owners. Every falcon bought at the event gets a full once over, including an endoscopy — a nonsurgical procedure to examine the bird’s digestive tract to check for fungus.

“Falcons have fungus sometimes and no one wants to buy a sick falcon. If it’s sick his price goes down,” said Mr Al Badi.

“We check them for bacteria and we can test their faeces too.”

The Falcon Hospital is not involved in the sale of the birds, but people visiting its stand can still walk away with an animal by adopting one.

The hospital has a number of cats and dogs on show at its stand to raise awareness of its work rehoming stray animals. It currently has around 100 cats and 100 dogs up for adoption for a nominal fee of Dh400 for cats and Dh420 for dogs, which were either abandoned by their owners or found living on the streets.

“When a cat comes from the street, we check them. If the cat is friendly, we keep them to adopt. But if the cat is not friendly we return them to the streets (after neutering and vaccinating etc) as it is not safe to rehome them,” said Mr Al Badi.

“We have had adoptions at Adihex and also people have asked where they can go to see more cats and dogs, which is great.”