Mongolian Eagle Hunting
According to historians, Mongolian Eagle hunting tradition is believed to originate in Central Asia some 6000 years ago and later on be adopted in Europe and other countries. 13th century historical chronicles relay records of Kublai Khan's lavish hunting trips in autumn and winter involving thousands of people and horses. Falconers alone numbered more than 5,000.
Today, this old tradition is widely practiced particularly among Kazakhs of Bayan Ulgii province which now boasts more than 200 members of the Berkut Association. Since 2000, they organize the Eagle Festival on the first Sunday and Monday in October. It has certainly become one of the widely acclaimed tourist attractions in Mongolia today.
The admission with photography is $30 and $50 if you are taking video. There is a smaller Eagle Festival held in Sagsai village just couple of days before the main event.
Lots of tourists from all over the country flock to watch how these eagles hunt down live foxes and wolves. it is an official tournament for Mongolian Eagle hunters, so there are no set ups. Read about Mongolian Eagle Hunting.
For more information you can read the book Eagle Dreams: Searching for Legends in Wild Mongolia by Stephen Bodio. I read the book and I was fascinated by the commitment and dream of this guy in his forties just to see the moment of eagle hunting down a fax that takes few seconds.
He writes, "I could not see the fox at first. The eagle hit wind as she topped the ridge but, instead of falling back, she cut into it and rose like a kite. Manai galloped at a speed that seemed reckless on the loose rocks, shouting. Now the fox appeared, fawn-colored and supple, cascading down the rocky steps like a furry waterfall. The eagle towered two hundred feet above, turned, and fell like a hummer. The fox dodged once, but somehow the eagle was now ahead of him, turning. The two arcs of movement converged in a cloud of dust, and all was still."
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