A Saudi prince has just bought 80 plane tickets for his 80 falcons. This is really incredible!
A picture is going viral all over the Internet with the following caption: “My captain friend sent me this photo… a Saudi prince bought ticket for his 80 pet hawks”. Ahmet Yasar who posted the picture says that it was an A330 plane that was heading to Jeddah, a city in Saudi Arabia. However, the man could not reveal on which airline this happened. As it turns out, the birds were actually falcons, and apparently it is not that uncommon to see wealthy people from the Arab countries transporting their birds on planes.
Hunting with falcons or using them for competitive sports is a long lasting tradition in this region. Falcons are considered auspicious birds, for instance, Abu Dhabi even has its own falcon hospital.
Various airlines such as Etihad Airlines, Qatar Airlines and others actually allow falcons to board the plane. People can do that for the additional cost of up to $630 per bird depending on the destination. Lufthansa Airlines even offers a custom-designed bird tray for that purpose. Falcons even have their own passports too. Somewhere between 2002 and 2013, the UAE government also issued more than over 28,000 falcon passports, costing around $130 each. That is not that big of a sum, knowing that the best of the falcons can cost even up to $250,000.
Falcon is the national bird of UAE and it symbols force and courage too. It recognizes the importance of falconry in Arab tradition and also culture. The falcon species were always regarded as a very uncommon and shy birds, and are very rarely met with by amateur birdwatchers. Arabs constitute that 1/3rd part of the world’s falconers. Falcons are fast flying hunters suited for taking prey while still in the air. In this pesticide era they are facing serious ecological risks and danger of extinction, as their position is at the top of the biological pyramids.