by A. Eyeberdiyev
"Take your hawk in your hand and consolidate in yourself a soldier's soul and the health of a wrestler!"
There are special systems in our organism which are improved by the effect of external phenomena. As a result of the mutual effects of the animal world, it has been proved that human beings have access to receiving energy and "building materials". In a book entitled "The Remedial Power of nature" which came out in Egypt in 1646, a physician says to the Sultan "Take your hawk in your hand if you wish throne quickly'.
In 1995, a university in Russia carried out research in which a person with heart disease was asked to walk about for 15 minutes every morning and evening with a hawk in his hand. As a result the health of the patient improved significantly. His body heat was regulated and the amount of fluco-protein in the blood was reduced. When the hawk itself was studied, it was noticed that a large reserve of energy field existed in it organism.
At present treatment with the help of birds of prey, is widely used in several countries. In some European countries zoo-therapeutic centres are in operation. In Japan birds of prey are used to treat osteopathic and neurological diseases at ecological clinics.
Development of hunting with birds of prey, which is part of our national tradition, will contribute to public health.
In the past, not only did people hunt birds, but at the same time they used them in hunting. The Turkmens have a saying: "There are birds whose meat we eat, and there are birds which we feed with meat". Wide countryside and mountainous areas provide ideal conditions for birds of prey. The tradition of using birds of prey might have reached Europe through the movement of Islamic culture.
Hunting with game birds has been widely spread among the Turkmens for many centuries. All sultans of the Seljuki dynasty used birds of prey in their hunting. An itcm found in Anaw near Ashgabat is the statue of a man with a bird of prey in his hand, presumably more than 600 years ago.
At the beginning of the 8" Century, Arabs were impressed by the design of the "tail hound's" and "bird's trail" on Turkmen carpets. Designs ii-lade by the Turkmen women show the importance of hunting in their daily life.
According to Al-Maqdisi, the great geographer of the middle ages, Bahraz (south-eastern Turkmenistan) was the place where these birds were bred. Sultan Qabus bin Said, who ruled Oman in the 18" Century, wrote "The Turkmens are very familiar with birds of prey'.
In 1894 the all-Russia exhibition of hunters was held in St Petersburg. Turkmen hunters Amanberdi Gara and Sary Bevdiniyaz from the Trans-Caspian Oblast took part in this exhibition with their bird of prey and hound and were highly commended.
During the Second World War, Germans used pigeons for military communications; they sent their secret messages from one place to another by pigeons. Andrew Hills, a British Officer, by studying the book "The Turkmen School of Training Birds of Prey' (1937) for a year created a platoon of birds of prey and up to the end of the War, by capturing more than 200 pigeons, revealed nearly 70 Reich secret plans.
These examples show the fame of the Turkmen birds of prey.
If we take a look at the world history, we will see that there are innumerable examples of living creatures as an important part in the talks among world leaders. Pedigree horses, unique fish or beautiful butterflies of a hot country are among the gifts given to the leaders of other countries.
History of diplomacy has always witnessed the fact that birds of prey have always constituted means of talks at the international level. Japanese Samurai, Arab Sheikhs, Russian rulers, German Emperors, Tamerlaine's soldiers, Indian commanders, Iranian Kings, and Turkmen Khans all had their birds of prey with them.
Beginning with the Seljuki period, Turkmen leaders showed interest in birds of prey. Even Tugrul Beg used to go hunting together with caliphs of Baghdad using their birds of prey. In I 1 19 in a ceremony on the occasion of the accession to the throne of the King of Khorezm, many Oguz tribes organised hunting feasts with their hawks. In 1324 Turkmen feudal lords invited Chaghatay Khan to hunting with bird of prey.
Leaders of the Turkmen tribes succeeded in conforming the custom of hunting with birds of prey to popular diplomacy. They preserved this tradition as means of bringing people and countries closer to each other.
Abu Bakr Al-Margilani in his collection of rules entitled "Hidal" says "When leaders of various tribes organize hunting parties with birds of prey, they do not limit their time with only enjoying themselves, but at the same time they exchange views on various subjects, thus consolidating friendship and peace among themselves".
The present, President of the United Arab Emirates in his book entitled "Hunting Sport with Game Birds" says "I am attracted to the hunting with game birds due to the fact that it provides an opportunity for an exchange of views with other people. Away from the noise of the town, a king or an emir, or a businessman or a Bedouin, are all equal. All eat similar foods, drink the same water. Such meetings are so useful. Here you learn about habits and you get to know other people".
In order to provide facilities for official visitors of Turkmenistan and other honourable guests with facilities to familiarise themselves with birds of prey in our country we propose to set up a centre for breeding birds of prey with the power of our club.
Living conditions of most birds are connected with many problems to be overcome. Other than natural migration, many birds reach strange towns and continents with the help of some people. For example, in 1497 Vasco de Gama brought the European warblers from Portugal to India for the first time. Von Humboldt took partridges to Latin America which until then were not known there. An 18t' Century British historian writes of a Russian ambassador who presented a king with birds of prey decorated with many precious stones.
There are many examples of concern some people show to the winged hunters even today. Sparrow hawks released into the skies of Kyrgyzstan and Pakistan by the order of Shaykh Zaid Bin Sultan al-Nahayya, President of the United Arab Emirates, continue to fly there. This was four years ago. They have increased in number now. The Kyrgyz Committee for the Protection of Nature chose the rocks of the Tian Shan Mountains as new homes for the new hunting birds. After veterinary investigations were carried out, 60 birds of prey enjoyed their freedom.
In Uzbekistan new centres have been set up for the protection and development of living conditions of (birds of prey) with the help of some Arab states. Kazakh breeders of birds of prey have set up special teams together with specialists from some Arab and European countries at "Burgutchi" Club.
A certain number of young birds of prey which are bred in accordance with international rules and conditions are set free into nature. Their number is limited and they are sold only to foreign and local enthusiasts of birds of prey at the price established on the basis of international prices. These measures help to stop criminal acts such as illegal hunting or selling of birds of prey.
The beauty of nature in Turkmenistan astonishes tourists who Visit Our country. The Turkmen traditional school of training birds of prey will contribute to the study of birds and to successfully organising their protection.
A. Eyeberdiyev (the author) with his bird.
His team won the first place among 30 countries in the International Falconer's Contest
in January 2000 in Alma-Aty