Tribes, Preda­tors & Me

Gor­don Buchanan is in Mongolia train­ing a golden ea­gle to hunt…

What's on TV - - What’s On -

With its ra­zor-sharp talons and beak and a twome­tre wing­span, the golden ea­gle is a for­mi­da­ble hunter. In Western Mongolia, the Kazakh peo­ple have formed a re­mark­able re­la­tion­ship with these fear­some fly­ing preda­tors and use them to hunt an­i­mals for both fur and meat.

In the sec­ond episode of his se­ries, Gor­don Buchanan joins a fam­ily of Mon­go­lian no­mads, in­clud­ing his men­tor Sailau, to train a young bird how to hunt.

But first he has to over­come his ini­tial nerves about the task.

‘I wasn’t ex­pect­ing to feel in­tim­i­dated by the ea­gles, but I was,’ he ad­mits.

‘To feel the strength of its talons and to see how sharp its claws and beak were was one of the most in­tim­i­dat­ing ex­pe­ri­ences of my life.’

Gor­don must spend days bond­ing with his bird, even sleep­ing with her in his tent to es­tab­lish trust be­tween them.

But when an early train­ing at­tempt ends in dis­as­ter, it’s a quick re­minder that these an­i­mals can never be pets.

As Gor­don tries to take the ea­gle’s ‘kill’ from her, he ends up with a nasty gash on his hand. ‘It’s the type of painful mis­take you don’t make too of­ten!’

Emo­tional mo­ment

Gor­don then takes the ea­gle on a horse­back hunt­ing party, but ad­mits he feels un­easy killing real live prey. ‘She’s not a shot­gun but she’s ev­ery bit as pow­er­ful and I feel like I’m the one who’s going to be pulling the trig­ger,’ he con­fesses.

Be­fore he leaves

Mongolia, Gor­don helps Sailau re­lease the ea­gle he’s worked with for eight years back into the wild so she can breed – and it’s an emo­tional mo­ment.

‘I strug­gle to un­der­stand how you can sever that bond, but maybe that’s the ul­ti­mate sym­bol of Sailau’s love for his ea­gle that he will do what’s best for her,’ says Gor­don.

‘And set­ting her free is un­doubt­edly the best thing.’

High flyer… Gor­don with a golden ea­gle.

In­set: Sailau

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.