Ulgii - Golden Eagle Festival - Eagle hunter (Mongolia)
The Kazakh people in the Altai mountains in western Mongolia still practice the ancient art of training and hunting with golden eagles. The tradition of hunting with golden eagles probably has started by the nomadic Khitans from Manchuria in northern China around 940AD. Genghis Khan himself kept a reported 1000 hunting birds.
Today, approximately 250 Kazakh people still practice this ancient art. But probably only 30 family groups still live the nomadic life like centuries ago. They are dependent from the season.In winter time they use their eagles to hunt rabbits, foxes and wolves which were essential for food and clothing in the past. But it is more, it's an art form in which the right balance between strength, agility and smoothness is required and where an intense bond between bird and its master is required.
A lot of Kazakh people still live in gers in summer time but in other seasons they live in villages and cities. But they keep their eagles and practice eagle hunting as a hobby and so their cultural heritage is still alive.