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Sheikh Zayed, the First Falconer and Nature Protector

Sheikh Zayed, the First Falconer and Nature Protector

Tuesday, September 11, 2018/ Editor -  

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11th September, 2018-ABU DHABI-The first edition of the Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition (ADIHEX) was hosted in Abu Dhabi in 2003, with the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, former UAE president honoring the event by visiting the exhibition. 

Sheikh Zayed then ordered that ADIHEX becomes an annual event and since then the exhibition is held annually in the UAE capital. ADIHEX has since then expanded into the world’s largest exhibition for hunting, equestrian and heritage preservation.

This year’s ADIHEX is dedicated to celebrate the legacy of Sheikh Zayed the first falconer, and one of the most significant naturalists in the world, who has since the 1930s, envisioned the need to strike a balance between falconry conservation and heritage, hunting and preservation of birds and hawks.

Despite his experience at the time, Sheikh Zayed was keen on seeing environmentalists and organizations with decades of experience and commitment establish environmentally friendly communities for wildlife and the regulations binding the hunting practices. 

In 2005, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) chose a team of seven international personalities branded to be the 'Earth Heroes' in recognition of their efforts in protecting the environment and the late Sheikh Zayed was recognized for his profound efforts in the protection of the environment. 

Zayed’s long history and pioneering initiatives to protect the environment

When Sheikh Zayed became the ruler of Abu Dhabi Emirate in 1966, he created the Association for Animal Welfare, which included a group of rangers who patrolled the deserts to ensure that there was no uncontrolled hunting of wildlife and enforcing laws on illegal hunting.

And in light of the union, Sheikh Zayed worked hard to strike a balance between development and the environment and to preserve the rights of the future generations to enjoy life in a clean, healthy and safe environment.

His initiatives had continued in the field of environmental protection. Sheikh Zayed ordered the organising of the first World Conference on Falconry and Conservation, which was held in Abu Dhabi at the end of 1976. The conference brought together falconers from different parts of the world for the first time.

The Emirates Falconers at the time began to choose the acquisition of the many falcons in captivity than wild falcons, which reduced the negative impact of falconry on wild breeds.

In 1989, the National Avian Research Center (NARC) began its ambitious goal of producing Asian Houbara birds. The program evolved into the International Fund for Houbara Conservation (IFHC), which is moving towards the long-term goal set by the late Sheikh Zayed to produce 10,000 Asian Houbara birds annually, to increase the wild flocks.

Sheikh Zayed's message on conservation of the environment

The environment remained Sheikh Zayed's central focus till the end of his life time. In his speech at the 32nd anniversary of the UAE union, Sheikh Zayed said: “Since the formation of our nation, we have worked on the protection of the environment, conservation of wildlife and establishing all the necessary laws and regulations, programs and projects that have made the UAE a pioneer in the field of environment. This has also made the UAE a model to be followed globally in the field of environment in regard to its protection and conservation.'

His Excellency Majid Ali Al Mansouri, Chairman of the Higher Organising Committee of ADIHEX and Secretary General of the Emirates Falconers Club said: 'ADIHEX has worked diligently to emphasize the close relationship between falconry and conservation practices.”

“The first edition of ADIHEX in 2003 was honored by Sheikh Zayed's visit. Other exhibitions that followed have sought to convey a message of promoting sport, preserving heritage and sustainability values to the world. The forthcoming exhibition will witness many activities that highlight the role of Sheikh Zayed in the development of falconry,” he added.

The 16th edition of the Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition (ADIHEX) will be held from September 25th to 29th. The exhibition will be under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler's Representative in Al Dhafra Region in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and Chairman of the Emirates Falconers’ Club.

The event is organized by the Emirates Falconers’ Club and Informa Middle East, and is supported by the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD), International Fund for Houbara Conservation (IFHC), the Department of Culture and Tourism (DCT) and The Cultural Programs and Heritage Festivals Committee in addition to many local, regional and international media partners.
  
The main sponsor is His Highness Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival, while the Gold sponsors are The National and Arabian Tents, Silver sponsors are Wahat Al Zaweya, the Dhabian Equestrian Club, Smart Design LLC and Tiger Properties and the Bronze sponsors are AlMoe and National Geographic. 


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