As one of the first females in the sport of falconry, Emirati falconer Ayesha Al Mansoori takes us through her journey of courage, consistency and commitment to the craft.
What does the first 30 minutes of your day look like?
I start my day with prayer, then I go directly to the falconry room to check on them. After that, I prepare breakfast and take my daughter Osha to school.
What inspired you to pursue this unique path of becoming the first female Emirati falconer?
My father, Matar Al Mansouri, is my inspiration and he is the one who inspired me to pursue this sport, it is inevitably in our blood.
What challenges have you overcome while pursuing falconry?
There are many challenges, but the joy is in overcoming these challenges, passing them with all strength, and continuing on the path. I started my journey as one of the only women in the field and because of the challenges I faced in my path, I could remove the roadblocks from the ones who came after me.
Falconry requires a deep connection between you and the birds. Can you expand on this and the training process?
A falconer must have astrong relationship with the falcon, it is, after all, an art of mutual trust. It is important to know your falcon, down to the soul. In order to train them you need to boost their confidence in you and develop a sense of security. You are eventually going on a hunt with the same bird, so the groundwork must be strong.
What advice do you have for other young women who may aspire to follow in your footsteps and become falconers?
Firstly, every young woman who wants to engage in the art of falconry or learn the sport must choose an appropriate falconer with sufficient experience in this sport. Secondly,
give it enough time and effort to learn. Thirdly, this sport must be learned and carried on because it is a part of our ancestry and culture (it is quite literally a part of our national emblem). It also teaches us a lot about our history and forefathers, including our beloved founder, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan (may God rest his soul).
How do you balance preserving traditional Emirati falconry techniques while also adapt ing to modern practices?
Currently, new equipment and modern methods have been added to train our falcons, but every time I am starting with a new falcon, I resort back to what I learned from my father because it is the correct way to begin. After which, modern technologies such as tools and foods can be introduced. The sport of falconry teaches you patience, and resilience and also helps you create a bond with nature’s other beings. Learning the art and attaching yourself to a bird, whom you are responsible for, unlocks a whole new level of empathy.
How do you envision the future of falconry in the UAE and its role in preserving Emirati heritage?
Since this sport is an interest of our wise leadership, it must be developed and preserved. There should be falconry festivals related to this sport and exhibitions displaying all kinds of falconry supplies and merchandise.
This is The Fearlessness Issue – what does it mean to be fearless?
To me, being fearless means finding courage within yourself to do even the unthinkable. Without courage, I wouldn’t be able to learn how to deal with a majestic bird like a falcon, let alone train with it and master the art of working and hunting with it every day.
October – The Fearlessness Issue with Chaumet – Download Now
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