Deep in Senegal, near the border with Guinea and Mali, in Kédougou, nearly 550 carrier pigeons are ready to be released in the early morning. They each wear a ring to signify who they belong to: in all, there are more than 80 owners in the running. At the top start, a swarm of pigeons marks the start of the most important race of the year. All Senegalese amateurs dream of winning this competition organized by the young Senegalese pigeon federation. These pigeons must cross the country to Dakar, through the hot winds and avoiding the birds of prey. They cover more than 620 kilometers.
“Many people do not know that the pigeon is very intelligent“, remarks Amadou Souare, the pigeon fancier who won the most races. The day before the big day, the competitors arrive from the four corners of the Dakar region with their champion. The pigeon sport was practiced a lot in Europe, before falling into disuse. In Senegal it is quite the opposite, and many are keen to get in. The race winning pigeon flew at an average of 60 km / h for 11 hours and six minutes.
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