A tour of the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital is one of the unique things to do!
However, CNN retains full editorial control over all of its reports. An anxious-looking man lifts the patient from her seat and carries her into reception where she waits patiently to be seen by medics.
All completely normal -- apart from the fact the patient's head is covered by a leather hood and her feet are tethered. But there again, she is a falcon. It's a typical scene at the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospitala world-leading veterinary clinic that annually treats more than 11, birds for owners who cherish them like family members.
The hospital, opened inbears a striking resemblance to a facility that treats people. Once the birds get checked in, they're taken to a triage room where the medical team weigh them and quickly assess symptoms.
Non-urgent cases -- still wearing the leather hoods that keep them calm -- are placed onto perches until it's their turn for treatment.
Falcons in critical conditions are rushed through to an operating theater where a team is on hour standby to perform delicate surgery that can last several hours.
Later, sick birds are moved to intensive care units or air-conditioned hospital wards where they convalesce and are known to perk up during daily visits from worried owners. Sometimes they sleep next to their owner's bed and even have a place at the office.
The birds have passports and sometimes get their own business class seat on airplanes.
Hospital tours The hospital treats 11, birds each year. The hospital now has employees, its own lab, a pet hotel and a hospital for other small animals. It offers training for veterinarians, students, lab technicians and falcon rehabilitators. These days, they're also joined by tourists.
The hospital opens its doors to twice-daily tours that allow the public to watch medical procedures, learn about the work and even feed the falcons.
The award-winning experience is now one of Abu Dhabi 's top attractions. The veterinarian was already specializing in the birds when she was recruited inbut says she initially struggled to win the respect of hospital staff and falconers.
I brought a different kind of medicine which they were not used to. And when I came I made changes almost everywhere, in the medication, in the way of treating the falcons, even of the work flow. She is, she says, driven by a love for falcons and an innate connection with the birds that's vital to her work.
You need to sense it, and only then will you be good in this field. It's not a job, it's a gift.According to His Highness, falconry is a sport that teaches endurance, strength, and patience.
Due to the popularity of this sport, the UAE's falconers are famous for having developed specialized techniques and methods for trapping and training falcons in readiness for the hunting season. The IAF Journal – the International Journal of Falconry is an annual publication, a quality glossy magazine.
The current issue and back issues are available to buy online clicking here. Low definition pdfs may be downloaded by clicking the titles below.
Falconry also is reflected in literature and music, with the sport and the bird celebrated in poetry, song and stories. As well, the UAE was part of an international collaboration of 18 countries that helped inscribe falconry in on the UNESCO Representative List of the .
Falconry racing is one of the most exclusive sports in the United Arab Emirates, with top birds of prey going for more than , euros. The sport is said to be a legacy of the country’s harsh and unforgiving desert environment, harking back to a time when every resource had to be utilised for survival.
"Although falconry originated in Central Asia, the traditional sport spread to Persia and the Arabian Peninsula more than 2, years ago, eventually making its . Falconry has been inscribed as Cultural Heritage of Humanity by a number of countries led by UAE and more countries are recognizing its value and adding it to their list.