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Summer with the Eagle Hunters in Tavan Bogd National Park in Western Mongolia

Anja Bruehling | Mongolia

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Summer with the Eagle Hunters in Tavan Bogd National Park in Western Mongolia

Deep in the Altai Mountains, where Russia, China, Kazakhstan and Mongolia meet, Kazakh people have for centuries nurtured their nomadic lifestyle.

During the communist period of Kazakhstan, many Kazakhs fled for Mongolia to keep their nomadic lifestyle and avoid being sent to collective farms. They settled in the Bayan-Olgii Province and kept their traditions alive. Today there are an estimated 250 eagle hunters left in the area. The summers are filled with family gatherings, sheep shearing, horse races and wrestling at weddings and Naadams throughout the region.

Although the Kazakh government has made efforts to lure the practitioners of these Kazakh traditions back to Kazakhstan, most Kazakhs have remained in Mongolia.

There is a powerful immensity to the landscape of Western Mongolia. The steppe is vast, and beautiful in its emptiness. The mountains are high and mighty.

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