Birds of prey keep tra­di­tion alive

The Straits Times - - OPINION -

A golden ea­gle perches on a stone with its “berkutchy”, or trainer, nearby in the vil­lage of Tura­suu, Issyk-Kul area, which is about 270km from Bishkek, in Kyr­gyzs­tan.

Hunt­ing with golden ea­gles is a skill handed down from gen­er­a­tion to gen­er­a­tion in ru­ral Kyr­gyzs­tan. It dates back to the times when hunt­ing was the only means of sur­vival in the Kyr­gyz steppe. Ac­cord­ing to Kyr­gyz hunters, in for­mer times, one hunter with a golden ea­gle could sup­port a large fam­ily.

Since 1997, “Sal­bu­run” con­tests have been or­gan­ised to cel­e­brate this an­cient tra­di­tion. Hunters and own­ers of birds of prey gather to com­pete in tra­di­tional Kyr­gyz hunt­ing and archery.

The or­gan­is­ers of the hunt­ing fes­ti­val hope that it will help pre­serve the skills of their an­ces­tors for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions.

Head of the Sal­bu­run Fed­er­a­tion in Kyr­gyzs­tan Al­mazbek Akunov said: “Tra­di­tions are dis­ap­pear­ing in the mod­ern world; that is why we or­gan­ised this com­pe­ti­tion. I think if we man­age to re­vive national tra­di­tions, we will be able to pre­serve the his­tory of Kyr­gyz peo­ple.”


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