More than 900 visitors from around the world and more than 600 hunting trips 2070 Houbara bustards, 72 rabbits and 57 antelopes were released at Al Marzoum
Al Marzoum Protected Area for Hunting concluded recently its second season, with a turnout that surpassed all expectations. The hunting season started in mid-November 2016 and went on until mid-February 2017.
Mr. Obaid Khalfan Al Mazrouei, Director of the Heritage Competitions at the Cultural Programs and Heritage Festivals Committee – Abu Dhabi – the official body that supervises the Protected Area-, said that 909 visitors from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and a number of foreign countries had stopped at the Reserve. He also revealed that around 628 hunting trips were organised, with the participation of professional and amateur hunters.
A number of visits to Al Marzoum by some poets in conjunction with the presence of different media outlets had marked the second season. The Protected Area had also witnessed the release of 2070 Houbara bustards, 72 rabbits and 57 antelopes.
Al Mazrouei expressed his delight at the great success that was achieved by the Protected Area in a brief period, stressing a commitment towards the development of this unique initiative.
“We remain keen on implementing the directives of the wise leadership towards the support of traditional and heritage sports in the UAE,” he said.
In its second season, the Protected Area achieved considerable success by luring the lovers of falconry from the GCC region in particular and contributing to the reinforcement of the national identity and the authentic Emirati heritage. Al Marzoum is recognised as a top destination for falconers who fancy traditional means of transportation. The top objectives entail the reinforcement of the historical legacy, the sustainment of species, the support of awareness about falconry, the protection of the environment and the safeguarding of heritage. Al Marzoum also aspires to ensure the consolidation of the principles of sustainable hunting, the development of the breeding projects for falcons and Houbara bustards, and the bolstering of the international recognition of falconry as a cultural heritage of humanity.
Al Marzoum has recently hosted a delegation of falconers from the GCC region as part of a heritage programme for the sharing of expertise, the promotion of environmental awareness about the significance of natural reserves, and the role of the Al Marzoum Protected Area in the safeguarding of wildlife.
“The Protected Area supports falconry as a significant cultural legacy, an important moral value, and an integral part of the national identity and the Emirati heritage,” Al Mazrouei said.
“Al Marzoum provides falconers with an opportunity to practise their passion, within the framework of sustainable hunting and in accordance with the hunting regulations in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi,” he added.
Being an initiative of the Cultural Programs and Heritage Festivals Committee – Abu Dhabi, Al Marzoum remains open for all Emiratis, visitors and tourists throughout the annual hunting season of each year. There, one can enjoy nature and a picturesque environment while practising falconry, in exchange for affordable fees.
Al Marzoum is planning to launch a number of specialised programmes to train falconers, and raise awareness about the significance of safeguarding heritage. Students will be taught the principles of sustainable hunting, Al Sinaa (daily etiquette in the UAE), the preparation of Arab coffee, camel riding, and all that is related to the preservation of authentic traditions.
On his part, Ahmed bin Haiaai Al Mansouri, Director of Al Marzoum Protected Area, said: “The large turnout that was recorded during the first and second seasons came to confirm a devotion to cultural heritage and a keenness to preserve this legacy for future generations.”
“The 3rd season is expected to begin next November and our Department welcomes all visitors, guests and lovers of falconry and traditional hunting. We are planning to organise a number of exciting activities for all our visitors from the UAE and the different countries of the world,” he added.
“Al Marzoum focuses on falconry in the first place and is not providing any other form of wildlife tourism for the time being,” Al Mansouri said. He noted that accommodation would be limited to traditional camps so as to respect the main objective of the project which consists in protecting the environment. He also stressed that only the practice of traditional hunting would be allowed, without the use of any weapons of any kind.
Falconry has long been considered as one of the most significant heritage aspects in the region. Its practice has been transmitted from ancestors to younger generations, in the form of a deep-rooted heritage that embodies a spirit of cooperation, good companionship, and a sense of adventure and challenge.
Al Marzoum in Al Gharbia, which sprawls over a vast area of 923 square kilometres, is different from all the other wildlife protected areas in the world, with a unique focus on falconry, desert physiognomy, and the different aspects of heritage. All these elements make Al Marzoum the first protected area of its kind, on the international level.
The Reserve is located 100 – 120 kilometres from the capital, Abu Dhabi (about one hour by car), and is completely delimited by a fence. The Hunting Area is surrounded by a vast natural reserve, where one can find several high-level sites that can be used to observe nature and animals. The Reserve is abundant with the Saxaul shrubs that grow exclusively in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.
Al Marzoum provides a unique cultural, and tourist opportunity of traditional hunting in the UAE, through the development of its site, where only the use of traditional means of transportation is allowed. Among the objectives are the sustainment of the different species, the reinforcement of public awareness about falconry, and the safeguarding of the environment and heritage. The Protected Area also seeks to promote the significant role of Abu Dhabi in reinforcing the principles of sustainable hunting, and developing breeding projects for falcons and Houbara bustards while ensuring the international recognition of falconry as a cultural heritage of humanity.