Falconers praise Zayed's conservationist spirit

ABU DHABI — The late president, Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, has been showered with more praise for his conservationist spirit from international falconers.

By A Staff Reporter

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Published: Wed 16 Feb 2005, 9:12 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 7:31 PM

The commendation of his efforts in this regard came this time from an international magazine written and produced by practising falconers.

In an article "Falconer and Conservationist Par Excellence", the International Falconer describes Shaikh Zayed as a man who was not only passionate about falconry, but who fully comprehended the importance of preserving the environment.

"Tree-planting was his passion. He oversaw the planting of over 150 million in his lifetime," the article states.

The massive efforts made over the years by Shaikh Zayed are detailed in the article and an especially significant initiative in 1976 is highlighted. That was the year Shaikh Zayed took a brave and pioneering step in falconry and conservation. He organised the first World Conference on Falconry and Conservation in Abu Dhabi and for the first time ever, falconers from North America, Europe and the Far East gathered in Arabia. This was an amazing accomplishment and it helped bring conservation efforts into the mainstream.

The article mentions that Shaikh Zayed carried forth the tradition, like most Arab falconers, and released many of his birds back into the wild at the end of the season under his Falcon Release Programme.

He also introduced a strict licensing system for the trade of birds caught in the wild in the UAE. This, along with the introduction of 'falcon passports', approved by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), has dramatically reduced trapping pressure in neighbouring countries.

"His endeavours have received international accolades, notably the Gold Panda Award from the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF), the FAO trophy, the Unesco Environment Chair, Ain Shams University Award and many others. All are a well-deserved recognition of the efforts of a man whose monumental work will leave an enduring effect for many generations to come. Shaikh Zayed lived and died with the values of conservation at this heart," says the article.

It adds that falconers worldwide owe him their thanks for his contributions to the sport of falconry, which he held dear to his heart.

International Falconer is a quarterly magazine that covers all aspects of falconry worldwide and is established in over 40 countries.

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