13-Year-Old Girl Becomes Eagle Hunter To Continue Ancient Kazakh Tradition
Young Israeli-Russian photographer Asher Svidensky recently went off to document traditional Kazakh eagle hunters in Mongolia. Once there, he encountered something of a departure from the long tradition of eagle hunters – Ashol Pan is a 13-year-old girl who is the first female to be trained for this old Kazakh art.
“She was perfect,” writes Svidensky. “I was amazed by her comfort and ease as she began handling the grand eagle for the first time in her life. She was fearlessly carrying it on her hand and caressing it somewhat joyfully.”
For ages, the traditional art was only taught to boys, but now girls are being taught to be able to replace their brothers, who have to leave the land. Ashol’s eldest brother has been drafted into the army and she was the most likely candidate to take his place and continue her family’s line of eagle hunters.