RIYADH: King Abdulaziz Royal Reserve has opened its doors to reveal its treasures to visitors at the King Abdulaziz Falconry Festival.
The festival, held at the headquarters of the Saudi Falcons Club in Mulham, north of Riyadh, is running until Dec. 16.
The reserve is known for its broad geographical scope, which includes Al-Tanhat, Al-Khafs, Noura parks, and parts of the Al-Summan plateau and the Al-Dahna desert, covering approximately 28,000 sq. km.
The wild animals and birds include the steppe eagle, the griffon vulture, the Arabian oryx, the goitered gazelle, the Arabian wolf, the sand cat, the Arabian red fox, honey badger, and porcupines.
The King Abdulaziz Royal Reserve hosts ample vegetation, such as perennial ruminant, wild sidr, bitter melon, acacia, ragweed, grass, buttercup, lavender, star anthracnose, which is famous in Chinese medicine, and the thorny ladder tree that can reach up to five meters in height.
The reserve is also known for its topography, sites, and parks for visitors to the King Abdulaziz Falconry Festival, including the Al-Dahna Desert, famed for its dunes, the Al-Summan plateau east of the Najd Plateau, and Rawdat Al-Tanhat, known as the King’s Forest known due to its lush and fertile land.
The reserve also includes Qalta rock formations — also known as the Qalta Umm Qalidah — east of Tamir. It is characterized by natural carvings that have become waterfalls, which look like natural pools amid the eroded rocks.
The fourth day of the festival showed fierce competition between falcons in the speed category. In the first round, the first-place winner in the 400-meter run came in at a speed of 19.125 seconds, second place followed closely with 19.224 seconds, while the third place hit 19.261 seconds.
Winner of first place in the second round went to a falcon that crossed the 400-meter run at a speed of 18.650 seconds. Second place went to a time of 18.671 seconds, with third place going to a time difference of no more than 0.2 seconds.
The festival allocated financial prizes of about SR25 million ($6.66 million) to the winners of the Al-Milwah and Al-Mazayen competitions, and for the champion of the King Abdulaziz Cup.