Saudi falconry festival breaks Guinness world record

A Saudi man displays a falcon which was sold for SR650,000 (US$173284) during an auction at Saudi Falcons Club Auction in King Abdulaziz Festival in Mulham, north of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, October 13, 2020, Picture taken October 13, 2020. (Media Center Saudi Falcons Club Auction via Reuters)
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The second King Abdulaziz Falconry Festival set a new Guinness world record with 2,350 falcons participating in the festival’s Al Mallouah race and Mazayin beauty competition.

The previous record was 1,723 falcons. The record was the highlight of the last day of the festival which also positioned the kingdom as a destination for cultural tourism.

The event, which took place from December 1-16 in the town of Malham, north of Riyadh, attracted thousands of enthusiasts and elite falconers from across Saudi Arabia, the Gulf region and internationally.

The participation of Asian falconers at this year’s festival added significant momentum to the international category which featured 124 falconers, including 107 in the International Owners Group and 85 in the International Professionals Group.

Emirati falconers took the top positions in the international open categories for the second consecutive year.

The annual festival reinforced Saudi Arabia’s position as a global hub for falconry excellence. The kingdom is committed to upholding the highest standards of wildlife protection and conservation of the falcon species.

Awareness campaigns to protect wildlife have been introduced along with new laws prohibiting uncontrolled hunting, the establishment of specialised falcon breeding farms and the leveraging of international expert knowledge and technologies. The kingdom is also exploring innovative alternatives to the use of live game in falconry races.

With a total cash pot of $5 million, the annual King Abdulaziz Falconry Festival is a top event for professional international falconers.

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