Saudi-bred falcon fetches record $134,000 at Riyadh auction

A Saudi falcon of a ‘Hur’ category hit the highest price of 500,000 riyals ($134,000) for a falcon sold in the Middle East during the international auction of falcon production farms that is currently being held in Malham, north of Riyadh. (Saudi Falcon Club)
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Updated 19 August 2023
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Saudi-bred falcon fetches record $134,000 at Riyadh auction

  • Kingdom’s falconry tradition draws global interest with top bids for elite breeds

RIYADH: A falcon from a Saudi breeding facility has become the most expensive in the Middle East, fetching a record SR500,000 ($134,000) at auction and easily topping the previous SR270,000 mark.

The cherrug falcon, known locally as a Hur, was one of several to attract serious bidding at the third International Falcon Breeders Auction on Friday.

Total auction sales reached SR1.5 million, with two Saudi falcons sold on the same day for a combined price of SR570,000.

Bidding for the cherrug falcon from Al-Nader Falcons began at SR50,000 before climbing to a record selling price of SR500,000.

A second free-range falcon from Al-Dahas Falcon was put up for bidding and sold for SR70,000.

The auction at the headquarters of the Saudi Falcons Club in Malham, about 80 km north of Riyadh, has attracted participation from leading international falcon breeding farms. Selling will continue until Aug. 25.

The Bahrain Falcons Center recently inaugurated its pavilion by displaying seven special falcons.

Majed Al-Subaihi, the center’s representative, said that falcon breeders from around the world are keen to take part in the event.

Al-Subaihi said that the center has been participating in the event since its first edition, and he has seen a significant development in terms of organization and facilities provided by the Saudi Falcons Club, as well as an increase in turnout.

The auction offers the best breeds in one place, and also provides excellent services for participants, he said.

During the previous two editions, the event recorded sales of more than SR10 million through the auction of more than 800 falcons.

The auction has become a key marketplace for both local and international falcon breeding farms, and offers business opportunities to professional falconers by showcasing a selection of elite breeds.

It also contributes to preserving and enhancing the heritage and traditions of falconry in Saudi Arabia, and supports breeding farms and their efforts to enhance the Kingdom’s position as a global destination for falconers.

Walid Al-Taweel, spokesperson for the Saudi Falcons Club, said the event aims to provide a secure and thriving market for falconers and producers, as well as foster leadership in falconry development, innovation, breeding and care.

It also serves as a cultural and economic catalyst, promoting environmental awareness and acting as a platform for growth, he added.

Al-Taweel said that the club hosts the event “to establish a reliable and safe market for falconers and falcon producers.”

The club showcases top auctioned falcons, with participants competing live on TV and social media, while selected falcons are announced before each auction night.


Umrah pilgrims laud King Salman program

Updated 11 sec ago
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Umrah pilgrims laud King Salman program

  • Third group of beneficiaries left Makkah to travel home
  • 250 prominent Muslims from 65 countries part of group

RIYADH: The third group of beneficiaries of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques’ Guests Program for Hajj and Umrah, supervised by the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, have lauded the country’s leadership for helping them to perform their rituals in Makkah.

The participants have now returned home after completing Umrah and visiting the Prophet’s Mosque, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Monday.

The group included 250 prominent Muslims from 16 countries: Jordan, Iraq, Tunisia, Egypt, Lebanon, Algeria, Morocco, Nigeria, South Africa, Chad, Ethiopia, Cameroon, Kenya, Senegal, Uganda and Mauritania.

They thanked King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the ministry for providing them with quality services during their visit.

During their stay, they visited Quba Mosque, the Martyrs of Uhud Cemetery, Jabal Ar-Rumat (Hill of Archers), Hira Cultural District, the Cave of Hira, and other historical and cultural sites across the two holy cities.

The guests visited the Revelation Exhibition at the Hira Cultural District in Makkah, which featured models of the Cave of Hira and a screen narrating the story of how Prophet Muhammad received revelation.

They said the exhibition was indicative of the Kingdom’s efforts to enrich visitors’ religious and cultural experiences, as well as its care for Islam and Muslims.


Riyadh to host first international sand and dust storm conference next week

Updated 56 min 12 sec ago
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Riyadh to host first international sand and dust storm conference next week

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s National Center for Meteorology will host the first International Conference on Sand and Dust Storms from March 4-6 in Riyadh.

The forum, organized by the World Meteorological Organization’s Sand and Dust Storm Warning Regional Center, is expected to draw wide international participation and aims to address the growing global challenge posed by dust and sand storms.

Over 200 researchers, experts, and specialists from around the world, including WMO representatives, will gather to share the latest advancements in dust and sand storm research, said the center.

The conference is slated to discuss a wide range of critical topics, including sources of dust aerosol formation, dust-climate interactions, health impacts and mitigation strategies, monitoring and predictive modeling, and economic, infrastructural, and environmental consequences of dust storms on various sectors.

The conference will underscore the urgent need to combat dust and sandstorms, in view of their significant impacts on the environment, public health, and economies.

Such storms can lead to respiratory and cardiovascular illnesses, disrupt solar energy production, degrade air quality, alter weather patterns, and disrupt biogeochemical cycles.

This international conference serves as a crucial platform where scientists, policymakers, and stakeholders from around the world exchange knowledge and collaborate, paving the way for a more coordinated and effective approach to tackling the global challenge of dust and sand storms.

International and regional initiatives have been taken to study these impacts and come up with mitigating strategies.

The Middle East, with its vast arid and semi-arid landscape, is a major source of dust particles.

The increasing frequency and intensity of dust storms in the region, attributed to changes in land use and vegetation cover degradation, needs further comprehensive research to fully understand their far-reaching effects.

Saudi Arabia has taken important steps to mitigate climate change and combat sand and dust storms including the Saudi Green Initiative launched by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in 2021, which aims to address local and global environmental challenges.

Established under Saudi Vision 2030, SGI is an ambitious plan focused on combating climate change, protecting the environment for future generations and improving the quality of life.

It unites all the efforts towards Saudi Arabia’s mission of achieving net zero emissions by 2050 through the creation of a circular carbon economy. The Kingdom has also pledged to reduce carbon emissions by 278 million tons annually by 2030.

By 2030 Saudi Arabia plans to plant 600 million trees, restore 3.8 million hectares of land and champion biodiversity conservation as part of the SGI’s 10 billion trees goal.

In March 2019, the Kingdom established the National Center for Vegetation Cover Development and Combating Desertification with the aim of increasing green areas and rehabilitating degraded vegetation sites.

Moreover, the Kingdom launched the Middle East Green Initiative in April 2021, the most comprehensive program of its kind in the world, as a support for the SGI.

The aim of launching the MGI is to plant 50 billion trees, equivalent to 5 percent of the global afforestation goal.

All of these efforts will help in mitigating desertification, reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and enhance biodiversity. It also shows Saudi Arabia’s commitment to sustainable development and addressing the challenges of climate change and sand and dust storms.


Hiking unites adventurers in peaks of Baha

Updated 26 February 2024
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Hiking unites adventurers in peaks of Baha

RIYADH: The scenic landscapes, unique terrain, and enchanting ambiance of Baha’s mountains have attracted thousands of tourists, both local and international.

Among the prominent attractions for hikers from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf are the upper and lower Mount Shada.

The region does not only cater for walkers, but it also attracts adventure sports enthusiasts taking part in activities such as paragliding.

As winter unfolds, many visitors have started heading toward the region, particularly the Tihamah sector.

(SPA)

Head of the Southern Travelers Team, specializing in long-distance journeys, Abdulrahman bin Ali Al-Ghamdi, pointed out the adoption of the Baha peaks trail for hiking.

The 175-km trail takes in heritage villages with special architectural character, various museums, tourist attractions, and several parks.

Baha’s natural and sporting attractions make it a standout choice for many tourists.


Saudi foreign minister warns of ‘catastrophic consequences’ if Israel attacks Rafah

Updated 27 min 4 sec ago
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Saudi foreign minister warns of ‘catastrophic consequences’ if Israel attacks Rafah

RIYADH: Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan on Monday warned against the “catastrophic consequences” of any Israeli attack on Rafah, south of Gaza, during his speech at the 55th session of the UN Human Rights Council. 

“In this light, we warn against the disastrous repercussions of an attack on Rafah, as the last refuge for civilians, who are there due to the displacement by the Israeli army.” 

Prince Faisal denounced the double standards adopted by some countries toward the crisis in the war-ravaged Gaza Strip. He also reiterated calls for an immediate ceasefire. 

“We call on the international community to bear its responsibility to put an end to escalation and war, protect civilians, in order to pave the way for a clear and legitimate peace process that includes all parties.”


Saudi Arabia launches first international music academy in Taif

Updated 26 February 2024
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Saudi Arabia launches first international music academy in Taif

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s first international music academy, the Nahawand Center, was launched in Taif on Sunday. A cooperation agreement was signed between the Nahawand Academy of Arts and the Gnesins Russian Academy of Music.

The Gnesins Academy is among Russia’s most important international academies and one of the oldest globally, having been established over 120 years ago. It also has branches in the US, the UK, France, and other countries.

Abdullah Rashad, general supervisor of Nahawand Center, said that the cooperation aims to enhance the competency of those working in the music field in the Kingdom. “It also seeks to support talents and practitioners in music and arts, aligning with the goals of Saudi Vision 2030,” he said.

The objective is to ensure that the “music sector contributes to the local economy and creates job opportunities,” he added.

Ahmed Al-Shamrani, executive director of Nahawand Center, stated that the academy will focus on developing educational programs and musical research, accrediting official certificates for international trainees, and exchanging teachers, students, and joint academic work.

The partnership will also involve the organization of cultural events between the Kingdom and Russia.

Angie Zadan, representative of Gnesins Academy, welcomed the partnership, adding that the exchange of expertise and qualitative experiences will refine people’s musical taste, as well as develop creative content.

She added that the impact of the partnership will reach both practitioners in the field and enthusiasts, noting that it represents a significant opportunity to introduce people to the history and musical arts of both countries.

During the ceremony, a band performed the folk dance known as majrour, popular in Taif. An art exhibition was also held on the occasion.

Attendees toured the academy’s various departments, including the piano and vocal warm-ups department where some students performed, the oud and oriental singing department, and the content creation pavilion.

The event also included several musical performances by a number of the Nahawand Center’s students.

The Nahawand Center is accredited by the General Authority of Media Regulation and the General Entertainment Authority in the arts, talents and music sector.