A Look at the Life of Mongolia’s Golden-eagle Hunters
The photographer Palani Mohan documents the bond between man and bird in the Mongolian mountains: http://nyr.kr/1MSMM1M Photographs by Palani Mohan / Courtesy Merrell Publishers
- •Eagle hunters belong to traditional nomadic clans from Mongolia’s Khazakh minority.Many of the men talk about loving the eagles like their own children.
- •Birds are captured and domesticated at four years old.That’s when they’re old enough to know how to hunt but young enough to be pliable to human company and training.
- •Only female birds are used for hunting.They’re larger—with an eight-foot wingspan—and fiercer hunters.
- •Eagles hunt foxes and other animals.They spot their prey from high up in the mountains.
- •During winter hunts, temperatures can drop to forty below.
- •There are only about fifty or sixty eagle hunters left.A ninety-three-year-old hunter says that young people “want only to be inside, in the warm, and they keep their eagles just for festivals and treat them as pets.”
- •Eagles can live for thirty years.But hunters keep each one for only about ten years, then release it to live out its last years in the wild.