Allan Grey / CC BY SA 2.0

The 6,000-Year-Old Tradition Of Hunting With Eagles Is Dying Out

In Mongolia, the Kazakh ethnic group hunts with eagles to supply food and for competition.

By Melissa Prax | October 3, 2016

The swiftness, speed and tact of hunting with eagles is pretty amazing to watch. But the more than 6,000-year-old tradition in Mongolia is slowly disappearing.

Eagle hunting is used by the Kazakh ethnic group. It helps supply food in winter, is used as a coming of age ritual for boys and a sport in an annual festival. 

The Golden Eagle Festival has recently drawn in tourists to watch a series of competitions unfold. Tourism in the area has caused tightened wildlife preservation, but that's only part of the reason eagle hunting isn't as widely used. 

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There's a lot less wildlife in Mongolia. Now, some family members get jobs outside the villages where livestock farming is a main way to bring in income. 

Only about 250 eagle hunters are left in the region. The partnership between eagle and hunter is a tight bond, but hunters do let the eagles go after 10 years. 

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