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Deep in the unforgiving wilds of far western Mongolia,
the last remaining Kazakh eagle hunters harness a powerful
force of nature.
The burkitshi, as they are known in Kazakh, are proud men
whose faces reveal the harshness of the beautifully barren
landscape they call home.
They have an extraordinary bond with the golden eagle,
which to them represents the wind, the open space, the
isolation and the freedom found at the edge of the world.
"There are about 60 of the true hunters left, and each
winter claims a few more because winters are incredibly
brutal. And they're getting old, and every winter about
two of them die," he says.
During the long winters, the eagle hunters leave their homes
and head into the mountains on horseback. Their eagles —
huge birds with a wingspan of up to eight feet and weighing
up to eight kilograms — perch on their arm.
"Almost all the hunting takes place during the winter months.
You can see the foxes' and wolves' footsteps on the snow, and
when they run there is nowhere for them to hide, because it's
a snow cover," Mohan says.
"When they want to go hunting they literally climb on top of a
huge mountain, and they stand on top of a rock, and they look
down. Right down below, another hunter would go down and
make some noise and chase the foxes out of the hole."