A family of nomads teaches Gordon Buchanan how they hunt with golden eagles in a spectacular mountain wilderness. Can Gordon gain the trust of his young eagle?
For thousands of years, Kazakh people of western Mongolia have formed a hunting partnership with golden eagles to help them catch furs to stay warm in the freezing winters. Wildlife cameraman, Gordon Buchanan joins a family of nomads to learn about golden eagles from these experts and help them train a young eagle to hunt. Gordon has a few painful lessons learning how to train and fly his young eagle. An eagle’s training starts when it’s less than a year old. Kazakhs always hunt with females as they are larger and fiercer than males. Gordon works with a young eagle to prepare it for its first hunt – will they be able to learn to trust and work with each other? And will he be able to get to grips with flying her, taking into account the wind and terrain, without getting hurt in the process? Gordon spends days with his young eagle to build her trust – even letting her sleep in his tent. But it’s not just the eagle he has to bond with – he’s got to get to grips with carrying an eagle on horseback, as well as mucking in with daily chores. Eventually Gordon faces some of the area’s top hunters in a ‘lure drag’ tournament. Gordon’s young eagle is not a successful hunter yet, but she shows promise. Then Gordon’s mentor Sailau releases his older eagle back to the wild to breed. This older eagle has been Sailau’s hunting partner for eight years, and it’s a touching moment as he says goodbye to his companion. It’s a poignant act that illustrates the respect and love these remarkable people have for an iconic predator that’s persecuted across the world.
Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes
|Series Producer||Ted Oakes|