No trip to Abu Dhabi is complete without visiting the world famous Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital. Known for treating thousands of birds every year, this one of a kind hospital is spread in a huge area and has everything right from an Intensive Care Unit, X-rays departments, ophthalmology centre and so much more. Earlier only visited by the patients and their care takers, the hospital is now open for the tourists to take a tour as well. We promise your visit to the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital is surely going to be one of its kind and definitely worth remembering.
Who are Falcons and Why a Falcon hospital in UAE?
The traditional culture in the gulf countries have special place for Falcons. UAE specially has a special place for ‘Falconry’ since many centuries. Earlier, the Falcons were used for hunting and attacking and were a source of providing meat of hare or houbara as a food to the villagers. In the pre-oil days of UAE, the Sheikh used to go to on a hunting tour of their territory and while they did fun hunting during the day, they set up camps at night and listen to the problems of the people of their region.
Today, though they do not need falcons for hunting, ‘Falconry’ is practiced as a sport and is quite popular amongst the locals and tourists coming to UAE. While only the 2 main species of Falcons- the Peregrine and Saker are widely used in UAE, these are no ordinary species. These Falcons are fearless, brave, beautiful and can be a potential danger due to their aggressive nature. Earlier they were captured with great tactics and bravery, these days they are more commonly bought by the wealthy owners.
These Falcons with such a long history in UAE are strictly controlled under the UAE laws that discourage year round domestication of the falcons and encourage their use only during the sport season. For the rest of the year, they are to be returned to the wild after being inserted with a microchip beneath for identification purposes. The project of taking care of these graceful birds is jointly carried out by Sheikh Zayed Falcon Release Project and ERWDA.
The Abu Dhabi Flacon hospital is a part of this good cause and works hard towards maintaining the Falcons in good health and offers them a long healthy life. The hospital ensures every Falcon is given the best possible care with the most advanced technological equipments. The hospital is vital in helping the survival of UAE’s centuries old tradition.
1.Unknown Facts about the amazing Falcons:
- Female falcons are heavier than male falcons and hence they are used for Falconry more than the males.
- Falcon is a part of the UAE emblem with its talons holding the red scroll with UAE written in Arabic.
- Trapping and keeping a wild Flacon is illegal in UAE.
- Falcons don’t come cheap. Their prices start from 6000AED and go up to 600000AED approximately.
- The Falcon hunting season or the ‘Falconry’ season is from September till March.
- Falcons are allowed in flights and they travel with their own passports.
2.Interesting facts about the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital:
- Owing to the cultural and historical importance of Falcons in UAE, the hospital considers them no less than humans. There is a special waiting room in the Falcon hospital where the birds wait patiently for their turn to be treated.
- The Government of UAE has subsidized the cost of medical care of the Falcons thus; the cost of medical treatment in the super specialty hospital is not too high.
- The most common practice carried with falcons is the Falcon pedicures. Yes, their talons get trimmed but not polished. However, the falcons don’t seem to enjoy it and therefore, an anesthesia is given to them during their pedicure sessions. The reason of these pedicures is not for beautification but for medical, as an overgrown nail can dug deep in to their skins and cause an infection.
- The hospital has an all equipped operation theater to perform all types of minor and major surgeries.
- The hospital has special aviary with multiple air conditioners to give the loved falcons a respite from hot weather.
- The hospital opened its doors for visitors and guided tours in the year 2007 and also has a special falcon museum much to the delight of the tourists.
- The Abu Dhabi Falcon hospital is the largest and one of its kind facility in the world. To take a tour, pre-booking is mandatory. The tour can be booked online as well.
- The hospital has won various prestigious awards including the Business Excellence Award, Middle East’s Responsible Tourism Award, Beyond Excellence Award and much more.
- The hospital provides various services such as veterinary, laboratory, pet care centre, animal shelter and many more such services.
- The Abu Dhabi Flacon hospital carries out various events and tourism services and today is one of the major tourist attractions of Abu Dhabi.
- Contrary to the belief, the hospital does not only take care of the owned pets but also the ones from the wild. The injured or weak falcons are brought from the wild, treated and once they are healthy, they are sent back to the wild.
The world of the Flacon hospital is one of its kinds. A safe haven for falcons, it is an attraction not to be missed in Abu-Dhabi. Although, a bit pricey it’s worth every penny spent and definitely a lifetime experience.