Thursday, 22 October 2015

The Golden-Eagle Hunters of Mongolia

The golden eagles that live in the high Altai mountains, in far-western Mongolia, build their nests in the crags of the area’s rugged peaks - there aren’t many trees. Hunters belonging to traditional nomadic clans from the country’s Khazakh minority climb up to these crevices to capture the birds at around four years old, which is old enough to know how to hunt but young enough to be pliable to human company and training. The eagles are domesticated, fed by hand, and will live with the hunters’ families for years. When the Australian-born photographer Palani Mohan began travelling to the Altais to document the traditions of these eagle-hunters, known as burkitshi, many of the men he met talked about loving the eagles like their own children. In an introduction to a new collection of his photos, Mohan writes, “It is the bond between hunter and eagle that fascinated me...”

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