Culture / UNESCO

The art of falconry

Alessandro La Becca
Photo: Alessandro La Becca, Unsplash

The art of falconry included on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

In December, the UNESCO Committee for the Intangible Heritage included the art of falconry on the Representative List of the Intangible Heritage of Humanity. The Republic of Croatia now has a total of 18 intangible cultural assets on the UNESCO lists, of which 3 are multinational, 16 on the Representative List, 1 on the Emergency List and 1 in the Register of Good Practice of Preserving Intangible Cultural Heritage. 

Falconry from Croatia joined the multinational nomination, which includes Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Ireland, Italy, Qatar, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Hungary, Morocco, Mongolia, Netherlands, Germany, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Saudi Arabia, Syrian Arab Republic, Slovakia, Spain, United Arab Emirates.

It is an international nomination initiative launched by the United Arab Emirates in 2010, and to date, it has expanded to 24 countries that nurture the art of falconry.

Falconry is recognised in various cultures and communities worldwide as part of cultural heritage, a tradition that respects the natural environment is passed down from generation to generation, and contributes to creating a sense of belonging and continuity of a community and its identity.

The art of falconry is a traditional practice of keeping and training falcons and other birds of prey to hunt prey in their natural habitat. Falconers build a strong emotional connection with their birds and commit to their breeding, training, lifelong care and maintenance of flying for hunting purposes. 

Today, the practice of falconry in most countries is carried out following national and international laws and conventions for the protection of natural and cultural heritage. 

Nowadays, wild falcons face many harmful effects such as pesticides and the degradation and destruction of natural habitat, which reduces their population. Controlled breeding by falconers contributes to conserving different breeds of falcons. In addition, falconers directly affect the preservation of natural habitats in their original state, encouraging the protection of many plant and animal species.

The Croatian Falconry Club and several falconry clubs from Zagreb, Karlovac, Šibenik, Slavonski Brod and other places in Croatia actively participated in the nomination. 

In addition, the Croatian Falconry Club is a member of the International Organisation for Falconry and Protection of Birds of Prey (IAF) and prepares national and international meetings of falconers during which knowledge and skills of falconry are transferred, as well as competitions and education for younger generations.

Efforts to protect falconry and ensure its survival exist in many countries. It focuses in particular on transferring falconry skills to younger generations, developing falconry accessories, ethics in hunting and breeding, and conserving falcon species, complemented by planned measures for sustainable development and raising awareness of values ​​of falconry at the national and international level.

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