Abu Dhabi: The 15th edition of the Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition (Adihex) opened its doors on Tuesday, with more than 600 companies from 40 countries taking part in this year’s event, as organisers expect more than 100,000 visitors to attend the five day event.
The exhibition, which is held under the patronage of Shaikh Hamdan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler’s Representative in Al Dhafra Region and Chairman of the Emirates Falconers Club, is the region’s largest hunting and equestrian event, offering visitors the chance to view and purchase the latest hunting equipment and technologies from around the world.
As well as the hunting aspects of the exhibition, the event has a number of other daily activities for visitors to enjoy, including animal performances by the K9 police dogs, horse performances, and horse and camel auctions.
The exhibition also has a dedicated cultural area, giving visitors the opportunity to explore and experience traditional Emirati heritage, with the cultural section featuring Emirati made handicrafts, paintings, and traditional dresses.
Six-year-old Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Rashid Al Nuaimi takes a look at at the latest hunting rifles at the Blaser pavilion. Abdul Rahman/Gulf News
Among the main themes coming out of this year’s Adihex is the importance of sustainable hunting and animal conservation, with some of the main pavilions dedicating themselves to spreading that message.
One such pavilion belongs to the International Fund for Houbara Conservation (IHFC), an organisation that works towards the conservation of the wild bird species.
“We are here participating in this event to talk about animal conservation, more specifically about the conservation of the houbara bird, which is one of the favourite hunted birds by falconers,” said Ali Al Shamsi, head of communication for IHFC.
“This event always draws a very large audience from many different nationalities, and so it presents us with a very good chance to educate the people and to raise awareness among them on the work that we have been doing,” he added.
Al Shamsi said that for this year’s event the group decided to create a highly interactive and entertaining pavilion to give visitors — especially children — an enjoyable way of understanding their work and the need for conservation.
“Our main audience target are actually the young children who will come and visit with their schools or parents. We want them to understand the importance of animal conservation and what the houbara bird is, why we take care of this animal, and it’s importance in our culture,” he said.
“The pavilion has a number of different ways of explaining the work that we are doing using a lot of interactive technologies. We have interactive touch screens, cartoon movies, virtual reality, and online games. The goal is to make it exciting for the audience while they learn about our projects on houbara conservation,” he added.
Al Shamsi also said that such a large hunting exhibition created good opportunities for meeting falconers, allowing the exchange of ideas and information between the two.
“At Adihex we get to meet a lot of falconers, they have a lot of knowledge about the houbara birds, and the same from our side. So it is really beneficial for us as an organisation to be able to communicate with the falconers’ community, giving them the latest information which, includes not hunting during the breeding season of the houbara,” he said.
“It is fundamental to find the right balance — the balance between human needs of hunting and the conservation of the houbara. We know there are legal rules for hunting, but at the same time it is important to balance that with making sure these bird species survive in a safe number,” he added.
The Emirates Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EDA), was also sharing the same message of sustainable hunting with its colourful and informative pavilion.
“The theme of the EDA at this year’s Adihex is all about sustainable living. An event like this is a great for us to raise awareness on the issue, at the end of the day we have to live in a sustainable way with our environment, everything we do affects our environment and when it gets affected so do we,” said Mohammad Al Seiari, external communication manager at EDA.
“Falcon hunting is a part of our culture, so it’s all about teaching the falconers how to do this in a sustainable way. There always has to be a balance between humans and our natural resources, we want the falconers to understand that they need to help us sustain our environment, which, we both share,” he added.
“We get a lot of people visiting our stand, they include traditional falconers, students, and environmentalists, so this event is really one of the best platforms for an organisation like ours to heavily educate the people on sustainable living,” he said.
Al Seirari also spoke positively on the exhibition’s growth over the years, particularly on the event’s emphasis on highlighting the need for sustainable hunting.
“This event has really grown a lot in a very good way, and not just in size, but in terms of the type of people who have been coming, and the exhibitors and what they have been showing.
“In the last couple of years we have had a lot of people coming to our EDA stand and asking us what projects we were working on, and what new things we had to offer in terms of sustainability. The visitors now come to us expecting to see something new and innovative,” he added.
Where: Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre
When: September 12 to September 16