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Bronze 2021 People / Culture

The Eagle Hunters of Mongolia

  • Photographer
    Shobha Gopinath
  • Prize
    Bronze in People / Culture

The ancient tradition of eagle hunting is still preserved in Mongolia, where a female chick is taken from its nest and nurtured and trained by the eagle hunter to hunt for small animals in the vast open steppe. The relationship between man and bird is nothing short of extraordinary. The eagle hunters believe that their souls and that of their eagles are intertwined. An inexplicable bond is formed, but it is not permanent, as they only ‘borrow’ the birds from Nature and release them into the wild after about 7 years, which can be a profoundly wrenching experience.