In one of the planet's most desolate and harsh terrains, the Altai Mountains which run from Siberia in Russia down to Mongolia's Gobi Desert, hunting with eagles is currently only practiced by a handful of Kyrgyz and Kazakhs. This form of falconry, the practice of hunting with the aid of birds of prey, can be traced back as far as 4,000 years in Central Asia.  Today, the art is slowly dying out, as there are only about 70 traditional eagle hunters left in the world.  For these remaining few, it is not simply an important tradition or an extraordinary sport; it is their reason to live.  The hunters must forge an intimate relationship with their birds.  Eagles are captured as chicks from their nest in the wild.  The training process, which takes three or four years has to be done by just one person in order to develop the necessary bond between the master and the eagle. It is the eagle that is the real hunter here.  When he is not hunting, a mask is put on him to enhance his reliance on his master. 

BONBON WANG

© 2017 by BonBon (Bonnie) Wang.