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Al Marzoom Hunting Reserve Receives First Group of Falconers in Its Second Season

Preparations to Organise 500 Hunting Trips and Receive More Than 2,500 Falconers and Visitors


Al Marzoom Hunting Reserve in Al Gharbia (the Western Region) opened its doors recently to receive the first group of visitors and falconers in its second season that runs from mid-November 2016 to mid-February 2017.


Mr. Obaid Khalfan Al Mazrouei, Director of Heritage Competitions at the Cultural Programs and Heritage Festivals Committee – Abu Dhabi - the official body that supervises the Protected Area-, said that over 2,500 falconers and visitors are expected to stop at the Reserve, this season. He also revealed that around 500 hunting trips will be organised by the Department of Al Marzoom Hunting Reserve.


In its first season (December 2015 – February 2016), Al Marzoom, the first protected area of its kind in the world, managed to attract a high number of falconers as well as Arab and foreign tourists, notably lovers of falconry and desert tourism, in addition to representatives of international, Arab and local media.


Being an initiative of the Cultural Programs and Heritage Festivals Committee – Abu Dhabi, Al Marzoom Hunting Reserve remains open for all Emiratis, visitors and tourists throughout the annual hunting season of each year. There, one can enjoy nature and picturesque environment while practising falconry, in exchange for affordable fees. 


“In the light of the great success that has been achieved throughout the previous season, we go on, today, with the organisation of this unique initiative, so as to implement the instructions of the wise leadership towards the support of traditional heritage sports in the UAE. The organisation of the second hunting season at Al Marzoom is also inspired by the great interest that was accorded by   the late founding father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan (May God Bless His Soul), for 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 Marzoom Hunting Reserve 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.


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 solidarity, good companionship, and a sense of adventure and challenge. Al Marzoom Hunting Reserve provides falconers with an opportunity to practise their passion, within the framework of sustainable hunting, in accordance with the hunting regulations in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, and without having to travel beyond the borders of the state.


Al Marzoom 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 Marzoom the first protected area of its kind, on the international level. 



Al Marzoom aims to provide a unique cultural, and tourist opportunity of traditional hunting, through the development of a unique site, where only the use of old means of transportation is allowed.  The top objectives consist in sustaining the different species and reinforcing the art of falconry as well as the efforts of heritage safeguard and environment protection. Al Marzoom also provides a valuable opportunity to transform the Emirate of Abu Dhabi into a top destination for the lovers of falconry. It goes without saying that the Emirate of Abu Dhabi has been playing a key role to embed the principles of sustainable hunting, and ensure the development of the pioneering projects to breed falcons and Houbara bustards in captivity. The Emirate has also reinforced the international recognition of falconry as a human cultural heritage at the UNESCO.


On his part, Ahmed bin Hiaa Al Mansouri, Director of Al Marzoom Hunting Reserve, said: “Our Department is pleased, again, to receive and welcome its visitors and guests from the lovers of falconry and traditional hunting. We hope for our visitors to go through a unique heritage experience as this season will be characterised by the organisation of diverse traditional activities and exciting surprises. We will present an opportunity to practise falconry and learn its skills without having to travel abroad; and this through providing a suitable environment and a safe area for falconers and those interested in other related activities.”  


The creation of the Reserve came after recording a rising demand for the launch of a project that allows the practice of falconry, in accordance with the different laws and regulations, and in view of the limited supply in the UAE and the world. Before the creation of Al Marzoom, the local market had failed to provide similar initiatives that would allow hunting with falcons and offer an opportunity for tourists and all those interested to learn the practice in a legal and organised fashion.


“Al Marzoom 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.


Al Marzoom project is designed as a unique hub for the attraction of tourists and visitors who are eager to enjoy genuine comfort in a contemporary way, which is blended with the arts of ancient heritage.  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 Marzoom provides an opportunity to hunt rabbits, as well as the Houbara Bustard that is provided by the recognised breeding centres. The practice of falconry is organised, in accordance with a strict legal framework.