A top-notch hospital in Doha is busy: Only falcons allowed

A top-notch hospital in Doha is busy: Only falcons allowed

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — At first glance, the Souq Waqif clinic in the historic heart of Doha, the funds of Qatar, could be any other state-of-the-artwork medical center.

Nurses in blue scrubs go briskly via the vibrant wards, conducting rounds. Radiology and working rooms whir with the beeps and blinks of monitors. Professionals squint at X-rays and masked medical professionals make incisions with all the higher-tech applications of modern day medical procedures on hand.

There’s just a person detail: The rooms are crammed with falcons.

In the small, rich emirate of Qatar, the desert birds are among the nation’s most pampered residents.

Long revered throughout the Arabian Peninsula for their ferocity and searching prowess, falcons these days provide as sheikhly status symbols recalling a Bedouin previous. The bond among falconers and their falcons has been an inspiration due to the fact the Paleolithic period of time, when drawings of the creatures initially appeared on cave partitions.

Even though fewer modern now than in the times of yore, the artwork of falconry is however handed down from just one generation to the future in Qatar and other oil-rich sheikhdoms of the Persian Gulf. With need increasing in current many years, clubs that teach the sport have sprouted up throughout the location. Falcons compete in an rising variety of races and magnificence contests.

The greatest falcons fetch at the very least a number of thousand dollars and Qataris spare no price to keep their superior well being.

“The establishment of the clinic was to assistance the interest and heritage of boosting falcons … it is a pastime that stretches its veins into various generations,” Souq Waqif clinic director Dr. Ikdam Al Karkhi not long ago advised The Involved Push. “Keeping them alive and well is an vital duty.”

General public hospitals like Souq Waqif give skilled care to unwell and wounded hawks, roughly 30,000 a yr. The marbled reception place bustles with entrepreneurs and handlers bringing their birds in for check out-ups, medical exams, feather replacements, orthopedic surgeries — and even a little something akin to mani-pedis.

Falcon nail submitting is pretty major business enterprise, as birds transplanted from the desert wild to opulent houses in skyscraper-studded Doha or bred in captivity are unable to easily uncover sharp surfaces on which to trim their talons.

The falcon’s hunt may possibly be a extended-honored custom, but it’s also grisly operate. The cornered prey at occasions places up a fight, clawing an attacking falcon and hobbling its wings. Every of a falcon’s feathers is important to its flight, necessitating mindful feather substitute right after a scuffle.

Medical professionals pull from a bank of lose feathers to come across a person that correctly matches the wounded bird’s breed — plumage of the exact same pattern, duration and shade.

“If these damaged feathers stay, it can trigger decline or reduction of the bird’s health,” Al Karkhi explained. “They must be treated.”

Clinic surgeons take care of other casualties of the hunt, way too. Falcons’ beaks and talons undergo injury from all that swooping and plunging and gobbling.

In the clinic waiting around space, falcons perch regally on their owners’ gloved wrists. The Qatari males in their flowing white robes treat the prized birds like little ones, stroking their feathers and misting their beaks with water.

“If a human being is neglecting their chicken, it is a massive problem,” mentioned Hamad Al Mehshadi, a falcon pageant manager getting his raptor for a normal clinical checkup. “When just one retains on to their bird, it is anything else. The really like of the fowl is extraordinary.”

Oil prosperity and world-wide company could have transformed Doha into a futuristic cash with a gleaming array of skyscrapers and megaprojects, together with big stadiums soon to host hundreds of thousands of soccer supporters for the future 2022 FIFA Entire world Cup.

But Souq Waqif even now sees a continual stream of 150 falcons a day — a sign that the echoes of Qatar’s ancient past are not lost.

“Even the appear that a falcon and its operator share, it’s distinct than any other search,” Al Karkhi explained. Falconers “feel the loyalty of this chook — a fierce warrior in the wild and however a pet in my hand.”

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