Future Generation of Eagle Hunters by Asher Svidensky

Israel-based photographer Asher Svidensky traveled to Mongolia with the intent to capture the future generation of Kazakh eagle hunters. Eagle training is an ancient tradition passed down to the boys of the family at age 13, when they are strong enough to support the weight of an eagle. According to Svidensky, there are over a thousand ways to train and hunt using an eagle and up to 5 years for a young boy to earn the title of ‘eagle hunter.’ In search of what would make this collection of photographs stand out, Svidensky was able to come up with the perfect subjects to document. There is 13 year old Irka Bolen who was in the early years of his training photographed during a practice session with his father in the jagged peaks of Mongolia. Then there is 14 year old Bahak Birgen who started his training at 8 and became the youngest Kazakh eagle hunter. Lastly, there is 13 year old Ashol Pan who is the first ever female training to carry on the tradition and who could very well be the first female eagle huntress of Mongolia. When Svidensky asked her father if he truly had the intention of training his daughter, he replies “Up until two years ago my eldest son was the successor of the eagle hunting tradition in our family. Alas, two years ago he was drafted to the army, and he’s now an officer, so he probably won’t be back with the tradition. It’s been a while since I started thinking about training her instead of him, but I wouldn’t dare do it unless she asks me to do it, and if she will? Next year you will come to the eagle festival and see her riding with the eagle in my place.”

Irka Bolen

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Bahak Birgen

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Ashol Pan

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