eagle huntress

The Eagle Huntress



hunt isolated temperature
alive goal (2) tradition
skill sign (3) pass down
hunter amazing move away
fox train (2) temporary
carry resilient handle (2)
minus culture determined
sambo beat (2) wrestling
culture build up introduce
fur at a time martial arts
trek bond (3) generation
entire earn (2) blindfolded
calm spot (2) horseback
key (2) strength master (2)
focus ancient huntress
hope title (2)






In one of the most isolated places on earth, where temperatures can reach minus forty degrees, this young girl is trying to keep one of her people’s oldest traditions alive.

Fourteen-year old Akbota is learning how to hunt with a golden eagle. It’s something that’s been passed down through her family for generations.

But it’s not a skill that girls here are usually taught.

Akbota’s Father: “In the history of the Kazakhs, there has never been an eagle huntress. In the past, women didn’t go up the mountains; they got married and moved away.

Being an eagle huntress is a temporary thing.”

But that hasn’t stopped Akbota.

For the past three years, her dad has been training her to become an eagle huntress. And it hasn’t been easy. It took Akbota almost a year just to build up the strength needed to carry an eagle on her arm.

Akbota, Eagle Huntress: “Of course girls can do anything boys can do; we’re resilient. And how do you say? If you never give up, boys or girls, you can do anything.”

Akbota’s Father: “My daughter is very brave: she’s determined to reach her goals. Girls can do martial arts: Sambo, judo and wrestling. They’re growing and learning and beating the boys.”

Akbota is Kazakh, a culture of people that live across parts of Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

They’ve used eagles to hunt foxes, rabbits and wolves for thousands of years. Back then, they needed these animals for food and fur.

But today, it’s more about keeping this ancient tradition alive.

Every winter, hunters leave their village for months at a time, trekking on horseback for days, looking for any signs of life.

The eagles are blindfolded the entire time to keep them focused and calm.

Then, when an animal is spotted, the blindfold is lifted — and the hunt begins.

Eagle hunters spend five years training before they are sent out on a hunt. And most of that training is learning how to bond with the bird, something Akbota is still mastering.

Right now, she’s working on her call: it’s a key part of forming a strong bond between her and her eagle.

But handling an eagle the same size as you can be a little tricky.

Akbota still has two years to go before she will earn the title as Eagle Huntress.

And after that, she hopes to be able to show the world this amazing part of their ancient culture.

Akbota, Eagle Huntress: “My plan for the future is to teach coming generations about raising and training eagles to hunt. I also want to introduce our eagle culture to the world.”

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1. It’s very easy to travel around western Mongolia. True or false?

2. Do people learn to hunt with eagles at school or a course?

3. Traditionally, both men and women hunted with eagles. Is this correct or incorrect? What did women do in the past?

4. What is Akbota’s goal? What is she doing now? What is her and her father’s attitude about the role of girls?

5. What do they use their eagles for? Do they do this in summer?

6. Do the hunters carry the eagles as they are?

7. Can anyone master eagle hunting in a few days or weeks? What is the most important aspect of eagle hunting training?


A. I sometimes see hawks, eagles, owls or falcons flying in the sky. Yes or no?

B. Is there a tradition of falconry or hawking in your country?

C. What are some other interesting traditions?

D. Girls can and should do the same things that boys do. What do you think? Can you give examples?

E. What will happen in the future?



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