Kyrgyzstan: Berkut aka Golden Eagle Hunting Show
Hunting Show Berkut aka Asian Golden Eagle is the largest bird of prey in Central Asia – up to 1m tall when standing and is 1.8 to 2.3 m (5 ft 11 in to 7 ft 8 in) in wingspan – just massive. In Kyrgyzstan (and also the neighboring Kazakhstan and Mongolia) they are trained for hunting, reared from chicks to become fierce hunters for foxes, hares, and other mammals. We got lucky to see the whole hunting show with a large 7-year old female Golden Eagle (they can live to 50-55 years) being releases from a mountain too to hunt after a moving fox skin (we opted for a fox skin vs a live rabbit, thus saving a couple rabbits). It’s a spectacular sight, as the eagle drops from the sky and grabs the pray with its massive claws, not letting it go until a piece of raw lamb heart is exchanged for it. And all of this on the shore of Issyk-kul Lake with spectacular snowy mountains all around!