Friday, 14 March 2014 14:23

2014 Eagle festival celebrates traditional falconry of Mongolia

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Mongolian_Kazakh_eagle_huntThis year’s annual Eagle festival took place at the Chinggisiin Khuree ger camp just south of Ulaanbaatar on March 5th, 2014.

Eagle festival 2014 was more widely celebrated than any other previous events because besides traditionally including ethnic Kazakhs with their golden eagles the event also included the participation of falcon hunters. The eagle festival promotes the traditional falconry among the Mongolian youth and there’s a growing interest among tourists as well. The first annual event took place back in 2011 and the current event was co-organized by the Mongolian Eagle Hunter’s Association and the Mongolian Tourism Association.

About two dozen of skilled eagle hunters from remote provinces in Western Mongolia aged from 17 to 82 came to Ulaanbaatar to compete for various awards including the best eagle hunter, the best dressed participant in national costume, the best hunter with a good horse, the king eagle and the best hunter eagle.

Besides the showing off eagle hunting skills, other contests including Tulam (more commonly known in the west as Buzkashi or kokpar), in which horse-mounted players attempt to drag a goat carcass toward a goal, and picking up money bag from the ground while on a galloping horse.

For the first time, Wildlife Science and Conservation Center of Mongolia participated in an event and carried out raptor educational activities. Traditional falconry is registered as the UNESCO’s List of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Image credits © Wildlife Science and Conservation Center of Mongolia