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Eye-Opening Photographs Of A Young Mongolian Hunter & Her Eagle
By Thia Shi Min, 11 Apr 2014
When photographer Asher Svidensky went on a four month trek to the mountains of western Mongolia’s “Bayan Ulgii” or rich cradle, he came across a movement that saw girls keeping a 6,000-year-old tradition alive.
The tradition is known as golden eagle hunting or “berkutchy”, in which young boys raise eagles to help them hunt—it was a boys-only activity as they were deemed strong enough to carry an adult eagle on their arms and endure harsh winter hunts.
However, this hereditary tradition is dying out as many young men are abandoning their nomadic way of life to live in the city. As there is a dearth of male hunters, the women have risen to take their place.
In these images, 13-year-old Ashol Pan is continuing this tradition—after her brother left for the military, Pan’s father asked her if she would take her brother’s place. She agreed, and has been undergoing rigorous training to develop a long-term relationship of mutual trust and understanding with her eagle.
Although many young boys are apprehensive among eagles, this young girl was very much at ease with her companion—even though Pan is still in school, she spends most of her time raising the eagle, which tracks down foxes, wolves and rabbits, helping the tribe survive during the long winter months.
[via Awkward Situationist, GrindTV and Asher Svidensky]
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