Abu Dhabi: Aspiring Emirati falconers can now instantly apply for a falconry license online, with the permit allowing adult UAE citizens to engage in the tradition hunting practice, the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi (EAD) announced on Monday at the Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition (Adihex).
The license issuing service is available through the Abu Dhabi Government’s TAMM digital platform, and allows falconers to obtain a license with ease, EAD said.
The announcement fittingly came at an event that aims to boost traditional Emirati cultural activities, with a focus on falconry and equestrianism. Spread over multiple halls at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, the seven-day event is expected to greet over 100,000 visitors.
The UAE permits falconry among adult Emiratis, based on Law No 22 of 2005. Ahmed Al Hashemi, executive director for terrestrial and marine biodiversity at EAD, clarified the various elements that regulate the Emirati cultural activity in Abu Dhabi.
• Applicants for a falconry license must be Emirati, and aged at least 18 years old.
• The falcon should be registered in Ministry of Climate Change and Environment’s Falcon Registration System. Proof of registration must be submitted if requested by authorities.
• Falconers can only hunt Houbara bustards.
• Falconry can only be practised in open areas, at a distance of at least 2km away from main and secondary roads, prohibited areas like nature reserves, forests, residential areas, military facilities, and petroleum production areas.
• Falconry permits only last for one season, and must be renewed once they expire.
• It is prohibited to hunt any wild animals, or disturb them in any manner.
• Falconers are prohibited to drive vehicles over vegetation, or damage them in any manner.
• Falconry hunting permits cannot be transferred to another individual.
“Law No. 22 of 2005 regulating wild hunting in the Abu Dhabi emirate established a legal framework for wild hunting activities. The law establishes environmental controls and standards…to preserve wild animal species in a manner that does not [threaten their] sustainability…in their natural habitats. The law contributes to protecting the heritage of falconry and wild animals, and to preserve hunting areas while developing wildlife resources,” Al Hashemi said.
Abu Dhabi then issued the Executive Council Decision No. 5 of 2021 regarding amendments to the executive regulations of the Hunting Law in Abu Dhabi, specifying EAD as the issuing authority for falconry licences.
“The resolution stipulates that the license shall include the terms and conditions of the permission to hunt, including the licensed hunters, the seasons and areas of hunting, the licensed species hunted by traditional methods, and other conditions necessary. The terms are designed to implement the provisions of the laws [for species preservation], and to establish and promote sustainable hunting by traditional methods,” Al Hashemi added.
The 19th edition of Adihex is being organised by the Emirati Falconers’ Club. This year’s edition includes 900 companies and organisations from 58 countries. It will feature 100 live activities, including sport competitions, painting workshops and even a poetry evening. Falcons, camels and horses will be auctioned onsite, and competitions will be held to select the best photographs, the most beautiful captive falcons, and the best equipped vehicles for hunting.
Emirati Falconers’ Club will also run workshops to highlight falcon care, and the principles of falconry. Visitors can also pet a saluki, or learn about traditional crafts, including pottery, sculpting, pottery, and palm frond weaving.
At a glance
What: Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition
Where: Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre
When: September 26 – October 2
Timings: 11am to 10pm every day
Tickets: Available online, at Virgin Megastore kiosks, and onsite. Priced from Dh25 per day to Dh75 for seven days.
Entry requirement: Provide a Green Pass on Al Hosn app, or a negative PCR test result with 96-hour validity if you are unvaccinated.