A rare falcon was sold at a record $71,994 (270,000 Saudi riyals) during the second night of the direct auction held at the Saudi Falcons Club (SFC) in Malham, North of Riyadh.
The International Falcon Breeders Auction (IFBA) said the falcon is considered the most expensive bred by Saudi breeders auctioned.
“The falcon, bred at Al-Aradi's Farm in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, has seen intense competition at the occasion. It weighs 1,105 grams, is 17 and a half inches long, and 16 and three-quarters inches wide,” the Saudi Press Agency reported.
The auction was awarded to the Saudi falconer Moteb Munir Al-Ayafi for $71,994 (270,000 Saudi riyals), who said that he will call it "Raghwan," and that he aims to participate in (Al-Mazayen competitions for local breeding) "falcon beauty pageant", which gives the owner of the most beautiful falcon a prize of SR 300,000.
“Al-Ayafi said that he inherited the profession of falconry from his family, adding that he has won championships in Horse Beauty contests, and seeks to compete in the 4th edition of King Abdulaziz Falconry Festival, which is the largest event of its kind and has set a world record in the Guinness World Records twice in a row,” SPA reported.
Falconry is an important part of the cultural desert heritage of Arabs of Saudi Arabia and neighboring countries going back thousands of years.
Falcons, whose flight speeds can exceed 300 km (186 miles) an hour, are recognized internationally as endangered. Countries have varying regulations governing their sale, capture, breeding and hunting activities.
Falcon owners in the Gulf, seeking hunting opportunities, commonly travel with their birds inside plane cabins to countries like Pakistan, Morocco and the central Asian region during colder months.
(With background from Reuters)