Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 25 September 2020

Environment

Sharjah rescuers save sick falcon from animal market

The bird, which was suffering from a serious infection, was being sold at Sharjah Animal Market

Rescuers saved a sick falcon later discovered to be suffering from a serious sinus infection. Courtesy: Mariam Ghanem and Muna Lardhi 
Rescuers saved a sick falcon later discovered to be suffering from a serious sinus infection. Courtesy: Mariam Ghanem and Muna Lardhi 

A UAE pet market with a history of complaints over animal welfare has come under fire again for attempting sell a sick falcon.

Mariam Ghanem and Muna Lardhi were visiting Sharjah Animal Market when they noticed the bird appeared to be suffering from a serious infection.

The animal had been left, seemingly abandoned, tethered to a crate at the entrance to the site.

One of its eyes was swollen shut and both the bird’s nostrils were also blocked.

A falcon represents the UAE. It is on every logo, every dirham. I was surprised this was allowed

Mariam Ghanem

“It was sitting on the pavement on his own, just strapped to something,” said Ms Ghanem, from Lebanon.

“A falcon represents the UAE. It is on every logo, every dirham. I was surprised this was allowed.”

Ms Ghanem and Ms Lardhi, who live in Sharjah, spend their spare time helping to rescue stray animals.

Last week they were visiting Sharjah Animal Market to buy food supplies for various abandoned pets when they spotted the falcon.

Initially, they called Sharjah Municipality inspectors to ask him to intervene in the case.

But because he claimed the bird was being sold just outside the boundary of the market he said he was unable to assist.

“It honestly doesn’t make sense,” said Ms Ghanem. She described the bird as looking as though it desperately needed water.

The following day, the pair, both 29, decided to return to the market to try and buy the falcon.

Eventually, they were able to successfully haggle its price down from Dh5,000 to Dh2,100.

It was not clear to the pair whether the owner had the right licence to trade. He initially told them he had a shop in the market but later claimed it was in Dubai.

“This was all from our own pockets,” said Ms Ghanem. “We cannot really afford this but we could not leave the bird to suffer.”

Since buying the falcon, an avian veterinarian has offered to treat the animal for free.

It is illegal to sell animals in the UAE which are sick or injured and doing so can incur a prison sentence of up to one year and a fine up to Dh200,000.

Selling animals without a licence can also result in a fine of up to Dh20,000.

“The vet told us the bird had a severe sinus infection and inflammation that could possibly have reached its brain,” said Ms Ghanem.

“We are waiting for the veterinarian’s report at the moment, but basically she [the falcon] needs extensive medical care.”

Sharjah Municipality did not respond to a request for comment.

Updated: January 26, 2020 10:40 AM

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