The most important falcon welfare institution in the world, as well as the largest, the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital first opened its doors in 1999.Not only does the hospital do so much to help falcons, as well as other animals, but it is also one of Abu Dhabi’s major tourist attractions, and has been visited by a number of VIPs over the years.
Falcons in the UAE
Falcons have long since been loved by falconers in the UAE, with many of them lavishing a huge amount of care, attention and money onto their birds. These birds are treated as part of the family, not only having their very own perch to sleep on next to their owner’s bed, or even in their owner’s office, but also their very own passport, as well as a business class seat on airplanes. These birds are primarily used for hunting purposes, and are trained to hunt game. Each year, the hospital treats around 11,500 birds, running in the same way that a human hospital would. The birds first arrive for a general check-up, which could then lead to further examinations, whether this may be x-rays or surgery, while an emergency room is available for more urgent cases. When a falcon loses or damages even a single feather, this can really throw them off balance during flight, so the hospital keeps multiple spare feathers in stock, so that they can replace any damaged feathers that they may encounter during general check ups.
The Falcon World Tour
Since 2007, the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital has placed a huge emphasis on tourism, which has been helped by the fact that the hospital has been so widely featured in the media over the years. The Falcon World Tour that they offer is the best way to really see all that the hospital does, providing you with a deep insight into the world of falcons. There are two tour options available, one of them two hours long and one of them three hours long, but both of which will immerse you in the history of falconry, as well as giving you the opportunity to hold a falcon. This unique tourism program has won the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital multiple awards from around the globe, as it is the only place in the world that can offer this experience to tourists.
The illegal trade of falcons is something that has been hugely on the rise, which is why the UAE recently introduced falcon passports. This means that no falcons are able to be taken abroad without one, and it is the responsibility of the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital to issue these, which visitors will be able to learn more about.
Being one of the leading, and largest, avian hospitals in the world, the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital has earned itself quite the reputation. From the way in which it is able to perform complicated procedures on these rare birds, to the emphasis that they place on educating the public on the importance, as well as the beauty, of these magnificent creatures, a tour of the hospital is definitely worth doing the next time you find yourself in Abu Dhabi.