- Size: 29.8 (L) x 25.6 (W) cm
- Binding: hardcover, 130 pages
- Language: English
- Photographer: Palani Mohan
- Publisher: Merrell Publishers Limited, 2015
Fascinated by the special bond that develops between hunter and eagle, award-winning photographer Palani Mohan has spent the last few years documenting the burkitshi, as the hunters are known in Kazakh. As Mohan explains in his introduction to a collection of breathtaking duotone images, this is a culture under threat. There are no more than 50 to 60 'true' hunters left, and each winter claims a few more. Having taken an eaglet from the nest, given it pride of place in their home and trained it, all hunters describe the eagle as part of their family. With its massive wingspan, sharp eyesight and powerful, flesh-tearing beak and talons, the golden eagle is the perfect predator. Its usual prey, fox, provides a welcome meal for the hunter's family, while the pelt can be made into warm clothing.
Mohan's photographs of the stark landscape, the isolation of the hunt, and most of all the trusting relationship between man and bird, convey the huge importance that the eagle plays in the lives of the last remaining Kazakh hunters. This is an enthralling, timely record of these noble men and their majestic eagles in an unforgiving part of the planet.
In his book, which comprises an introductory essay and 90 dramatic duotone images, Mohan explains how the burkitshis are slowing dying out. Rather than endure the brutal winters, their children choose to move to the capital, Ulan Bator, for a better way of life. There are also fewer golden eagles in the Altai Mountains. Although the ‘Golden Eagle Festival’ takes place every October to showcase the ancient art of hunting with eagles, attracting tourists from across the world, there are only between 50 and 60 ‘true’ hunters left. This book is therefore a timely, important record of these proud men and their magnificent eagles in a remote, unforgiving part of the planet.