In a little over a week, Kim, Lucas and I will be heading off on probably our biggest trip of the year.
On Christmas Day, I had what could be considered the best flight connection ever. During a stop in Atlanta (on the way to Jamaica) I booked tickets to Abu Dhabi from NYC for $232.53 each.
During our trip, we’ll be visiting Abu Dhabi, other Emirates and a few other countries in the region. It’s going to be really hot but we’re still looking forward to our trip!
While in Abu Dhabi, we’re hoping to visit the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital if the dates and times for visiting work out with our schedule. According to the tourism board, the hospital “is the world’s largest and most advanced falcon hospital, featuring a falcon display museum as well as a facility with free-flying falcons“.
The hospital sounds pretty awesome and should definitely be a place that will appeal to Kim, Lucas and me.
Well it also turns out that valuable falcons have to be protected from illegal trade, according to Atlas Obscura. When they can cost up to $1 million it is not surprising that measures had to be taken to protect them.
In the article from Atlas Obscura, it mentions what has been done since 2002 to “crack down on falcon smuggling“. The UAE put into place the need for a falcon passport when the birds leave the country!
This sure does sound like a joke but it’s true!
Each falcon gets its own unique passport but no photo is added. When flying with their falcon, the owner must show the passport to the customs official. The falcon passport will get stamped much like how ours are stamped. The cost for a falcon passport is over $100 and good for 3 years.
Considering there is no photo of the falcon in the passport, how does a border agent know they are looking at the correct bird. (Then again, do falcons really look much different from each other? I have no clue!)
According to Obscura, “the falcon must also be fitted with a leg ring inscribed with an identity number that ends up on the passport. This guards against one bird impersonating another“.
Interesting stuff. Find out more about UAE Falcon Passports (where you can also see a photo of one) from Atlas Obscura here.