In a rather bizarre occurrence, a Saudi prince allegedly flew 80 birds of prey on what is believed to be a Qatar Airways flight.
A photograph which has gone viral shows 80 birds which appeared to be falcons being flown in a plane along with passengers.
Reddit user ‘lensoo’ posted the picture and said it had been “sent to them by a captain friend.” The birds are believed to be on a Qatar Airways flight but it has not been confirmed. It is not yet known where the birds were being flown to either.
The user said 80 ‘hawks’ had been brought onto the plane with their wings tied so they could not fly around. The post caused a stir on the social media site, with many people challenging lensoo over whether they were hawks or falcons.
The strange image prompted a range of responses from shock and awe to humour.
The transportation of falcons on Middle Eastern airlines is fairly common, with Qatar Airways allowing up to six of the birds to be transported in economy class, with prices ranging from £90 to £500 per bird depending on the destination.
Falconry — training birds to hunt — has been practiced in the Middle East for thousands of years and is still a popular pastime in the United Arab Emirates. Etihad Airways also allows falcons on its planes. “We accept the carriage of falcons in the main aircraft cabin provided that all the necessary documents have been obtained. We also accept falcons as checked baggage,” Etihad’s website says.