Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 24 May 2019

Falcons the ultimate symbols of pride and unity for Emiratis

Falconry has played a fundamental social and economic role in the country’s history.
Salem Al Khyeli Photos Dan Kitwood / Getty Images
Salem Al Khyeli Photos Dan Kitwood / Getty Images

On the UAE’s emblem, a golden falcon features prominently, indicating the high regard that Emiratis have for the bird, long used by the Bedouin as a hunting aid in the desert. Falconry has played a fundamental social and economic role in the country’s history. Today, it has evolved into a national sport and a hobby for young men. Many enjoy spending time with their birds, training and bonding with them. In the evenings, friends regularly gather to chat and exchange tips about how best to care for the raptors and to train them. That helps to foster a sense of camaraderie and national identity. In 2012, Unesco included the sport of falconry in its representative list of intangible cultural heritage of humanity.

Updated: February 15, 2015 04:00 AM

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