Throw away whatever pet you currently have and take a look at this. The land of Mongolia produces thirteen-year-old girls who eschew Instagram bullying and writing smut about One Direction in favor of hunting with golden eagles. From the BBC:
The Kazakhs of the Altai mountain range in western Mongolia are the only people that hunt with golden eagles, and today there are around 400 practising falconers. Ashol-Pan, the daughter of a particularly celebrated hunter, may well be the country’s only apprentice huntress.
(It is well, well worth clicking through, if only to get a look at Asher Svidensky’s photo gallery of Ashol-Pan. There is a picture of her nuzzling a golden eagle as it wraps its wings around her.)
The eagles are not bred in captivity, but taken from nests at a young age. Female eaglets are chosen since they grow to a larger size – a large adult might be as heavy as seven kilos, with a wingspan of over 230cm. After years of service, on a spring morning, a hunter releases his mature eagle a final time, leaving a butchered sheep on the mountain as a farewell present. “That’s how the Kazakh eagle hunters make sure that the eagles go back to nature and have their own strong newborns, for the sake of future generations,” Svidensky says.
I make jokes about movies on the Internet. I am nothing; I am less than nothing. I have never left an offering of thanks on a mountain for a golden eagle that served at my side.
It is all I can do to keep from flinging my cat out the door in disgust, for he has never leapt from my arm off a wind-blown steppe in order to catch a fox for me. He is an idler, a trifler, and a blood-sucking non-producer, and I am no better. Ashol-Pan, I do not deserve to inhabit the same planet as you. I will endeavor to make myself worthy of you for the rest of my life, you eagle-wielding teen who strides the narrow world.
[Image via BBC]
Mallory is an Editor of The Toast.