If you’re traveling to the sprawling, remote mountain paradise of Kyrgyzstan, be assured of being rewarded with experiences you’ve never even come close to, previously in your life. One such unforgettable experience is to witness the classic Eagles Hunters of Kyrgyzstan, live in action!
This beautiful ancient tradition dates back thousands of years, when the nomads roaming the Central Asian steppes began capturing and taming Eagles in a quest to hunt for food and fur, keeping in mind the harsh the weather conditions in that region, especially during winters. These birds of prey are captured from their nests when they are still chicks, and then begins their training to hunt – an arduous process that takes close to 3-4 years, before the hunter eagle duo are ready to perform their first successful hunt.
And that’s how this special bond between man and eagles has been passed on over the centuries. Though this tradition once spanned almost the entire region, it is now sadly dying, limited to only a few selected areas like Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, and Kazakhstan.
The Kyrgyz are known to be the most efficient in Central Asia, when it comes to practicing the art of capturing and training the majestic Golden Eagles to hunt. Apparently, the Kyrgyz find it inhumane to use weapons to hunt and kill animals, and therefore the use of eagles to get the job done. The hunter develops a special relationship with the eagle, during the 15-20 years that they spend together. After 20 years, the hunters release the eagle into the wild, letting it spend the rest 10-odd years of its life in freedom. Though this fascinating cultural tradition of hunting is slowly dying, there are still a few Kyrgyz hunters who are trying to keep this ritual alive, by passing on the skills to their kin.
While this beautiful, unique hunting tradition still lasts, travel to the Kyrgyzstan and experience it first-hand – before it’s too late!