Falconers pay rich tributes to Shaikh Zayed

ABU DHABI — Falconers around the world have paid glowing tributes to late Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, describing his demise as a great loss not only to his country and the falconers community worldwide but also to humanity at large.

By A Staff Reporter

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Published: Thu 16 Dec 2004, 11:18 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 1:30 PM

“With the demise of Shaikh Zayed, the whole world has lost a great man, a great leader, and a father not only for his own people but also for the many homeless children that received his mercy. We lost a true falconer with a deep passion for falcons and wildlife. We lost a great peacekeeper,” wrote Mark Robb of the Blue Falcon, an organisation dedicated to the breeding and research of falcons.

Describing Shaikh Zayed as a legend in his own lifetime, Dr Nick Fox said falconers all over the world heard the sad news of the passing of Shaikh Zayed with deep sorrow and grief. He recalled that in the whole history of falconry, Shaikh Zayed stands together with such towering figures as King Frederick II of Hohenstaufen, and the Great Khans of Central Asia. He added that Shaikh Zayed will be remembered by the world as the leader who saw Abu Dhabi change from an impoverished desert country to an oil-rich, technologically advanced one, an Emirate strongly united with its neighbours.

“Through all this, he never forgot his Bedouin roots and his beloved falcons. For those of us who had the privilege to breed falcons for him, it was always wonderful to know that the falcons had performed well,” he said.

Dr Fox went to say: “What better way to remember him than to quote from his Foreword in the Global Strategy Plan for the Conservation of Falcon and Houbara Resources: The traditional sport of falconry was passed down to us from our fathers, from a time when we were close to nature and life was more simple. It is a constant reminder to us of the forces of nature, of the inter-relationships between living things and the land they share, and of our own dependence on nature. Falconry depends on healthy populations of the quarry, such as the Houbara, and they in turn depends on the continuing health of their breeding and wintering grounds. Falconers thus have a concern for natural habitats and for the sustainable use of resources.”

According to a Press release, the Emirates Falconers Club has been inundated with cables from around the world paying rich tributes to Shaikh Zayed.

Writing from the US, Lars and David Sego of Falcons for Sale, said: “We never had the opportunity to meet Shaikh Zayed but have always admired him since we were just young men. Like Shaikh Zayed, we loved falcons all of our lives. As a young men, we would spend hours reading about Shaikh Zayed and the other great falconers in the Emirates only hoping to one day see this great land with our own eyes.”

Lars and David said Shaikh Zayed was the driving force behind the conservation reputation for which the UAE had become known worldwide.

“We believe that Shaikh Zayed was blessed with a special love and understanding of falconry as a gift from God,” they said.

Speaking about experience in the UAE, Lars and David said: “We visited the Emirates for the first time in September this year to deliver four beautiful falcons from the United States. Everyone we met was kind and courteous. The cities were the cleanest we have ever seen in all our travels throughout the world. We asked our friend, Salem Alojan, how such large cities could be kept so clean and why the people were so kind to a total stranger. Salem told us that the people of the Emirates have a great leader (Shaikh Zayed),” they said and concluded by saying the world has lost a great leader, a wonderful father and one of the great falconers of all time. He will always be remembered as a noble and great man.

Japan Falconiformes Centre said: “It was my great privilege to have been granted audiences with this distinguished statesman on two occasions. I shall always cherish the memory of those meetings during which I was queried in detail concerning the traditional art of falconry in Japan.”

Patrick Morel, International Falconers’ Association (IAF) President said:

“Shaikh Zayed was highly estimated as a leading falconer worldwide and had a profound impact on the falconry world, as we, in the West, are only beginning to understand.”

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