A visit to Dubai's falcon hospital

A falcon at the Dubai Falcon Hospital

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KAI RYSSDAL: If you had to pick an icon for this country, falcons would be good choice. They're on postage stamps, on the currency. There are statues of them in traffic circles. They've even got their own hospital, funded by a member of the royal family, complete with X-ray machines, a lab and surgery.

That's Tarqwan. He's in for a follow-up exam.

FALCON VETERINARIAN: He cannot hear one side, but we do know what's wrong with him. Now we fix it. It's OK.

Bedouins used to use falcons to hunt for food. Now they're more for recreation, because the birds can be pricey, $15,000 or more. Dr. Tom Bailey is a falcon vet.

TOM BAILEY: The hospitals been in existance since 1983. Anyone can bring a raptor here and we will give free treatment.

But like a lot of things in Dubai, the market's become more competitive, so private hospitals are moving in. Falcon physicals? About $200.

That's Dubai.

About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, the most widely heard program on business and the economy in the country.

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