hunting with eagles one

Hunting with Eagles, 1



herd nomad livestock
hunt bond (2) creature
agility unusual horseback
hare train (2) catch/caught/caught
fox compete relationship
prize festival documenting
mock unique tug of war
speed gather endurance
event archery traditional
award pass on horseback
trust respect previous
gain aim (2) paramount
tame annual spirit (2)
focus wild (2) spend time
prove free (3) life expectancy






The Kazakhs of Mongolia are nomads who move their livestock several times a year. But it’s not just their herds that support their way of life.

Some of them have an incredible bond with a much more unusual creature: the golden eagle.

There are only around four-hundred eagle hunters in the world, and most of them are in Mongolia.

But what makes the Kazakhs unique is that they hunt with their eagles on horseback, catching rabbits, hares and even foxes.

Photographer Joel Santos spent time with four families over 2015 and 2016, documenting their way of live and relationship with their eagles.

Once a year, many hunters gather for the Golden Eagle Festival, where they compete in mock hunts, and prizes are awarded for speed, agility, endurance and best traditional dress.

Other events include horse racing, archery and bushkashi — a goatskin tug of war on horseback.

Eagle hunting is always passed on within families. If your father wasn’t an eagle hunter, you cannot become one. But it’s not just passed on from father to son.

Now aged 16, Aishol Pan is the youngest of the only two female eagle hunters in the world. She was 14 when Joel photographed her in 2015, and the previous year, her first as an eagle hunter, she won the annual festival.

Respect for the eagles is paramount, and the hunters aim to gain their eagle’s trust without taming its wild spirit.

They take them from the wild at a young age to train them. And they always choose females as they are bigger, stronger and more focused hunters.

The better an eagle proves to be at hunting, the sooner it is returned to the wild to live free, and the hunter will train another eagle. But all eagles are returned to the wild by the time they are ten years old, which is half their life expectancy.

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1. The Kazakhs have traditionally been settled farmers, growing vegetables and fruits. True or false?

2. Is hunting with eagles a very common activity?

3. The hunting with eagles is a dual skill. Is this right or wrong?

4. What happens at the Golden Eagle Festival?

5. Do people learn eagle hunting at school or a course?

6. Eagle hunters are both male and female. Is this entirely true, mostly true, partially true, rare or never?

7. The Kazakhs breed and raise eagles like they raise horses, sheep and goats. Is this correct or incorrect?

8. Do they use male eagles?


A. Is there falconry where you live? Are there hawk, eagle or falcon shows?

B. Do you think falconry or eagle hunting is ethical or unethical?

C. Would you like to attend a falconry show or festival?

D. Are there traditional festivals in your community? What happens?

E. What may happen in the future?


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