Cairo: The falcon market in Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf countries has recently flourished mainly due to a just-concluded Saudi competition offering record prizes totalling SR60 million, the highest in the world’s falconry events, according to experts.
The AlUla Falcon Cup wrapped up Friday in north-western Saudi Arabia after nine days of exciting competitions and marked local, regional and international attendance.
The event came on the heels of the King Abdulaziz Falcon Festival held in November in the capital Riyadh.
The AlUla Falcon Cup has galvanised sales and purchases at the falcon market with owners notching up profits of more than 180 per cent in deals prompted by participation in the falconry world’s biggest competition, according to falconer Abdullah bin Fahd.
“The competition opened up new prospects for supporting the local falconers in technical and financial terms,” he was quoted by the Saudi news agency SPA as saying.
“It has also consolidated investment in falconry, given its grand prizes that motivate professionals and owners to buy high-calibre falcons at high prices," he added.
Bin Fahd said he had sold a falcon for a big sum of money that he did not disclose, and the bird came first at the King Abdulaziz Falcon Festival.
For Falaj bin Abdullah, another falconer, the sales rose at the start of the season with the King Abdulaziz Festival and surged with the announcement about the AlUla Falcon Cup.
The prices have shot up to as high as SR600,000 for falcons that had achieved top slots in major contests, he said.
The cup was organised by the Saudi Falcon Club in partnership with the Royal Commission for AlUla.
Over 2,000 top falconers from inside and outside Saudi Arabia vied in the four-course cup to show off their birds’ prowess, speed and beauty, according to organisers.
Falconry is a popular hobby and an essential part of the cultural heritage of the Arabian Peninsula.
In August, SR8 million sales were achieved at the third edition of an international falcon auction held in Riyadh.
The sales at the International Falcon Breeders Auction (IFBA), which ran for 21 days, marked an increase of 218 per cent compared to the previous edition.