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Female eagle hunter reaches new heights

Thursday, Mar 08, 2012 - 02:20

March 8 - Makpal Abdrazakova, a female golden eagle hunter in Kazakhstan, continues her family traditions, winning contests in the male-dominated sport. Kilmeny Duchardt reports.

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In Central Asia, hunting animals using golden eagles is an ancient, male-dominated sport. But 25-year-old Makpal Abdrazakova is the first woman in Kazakhstan who has taken the tradition to new heights. The talented falconer isn't just a female face in the game. Her skill and talent has seen her winning local contests for over a decade. (SOUNDBITE) Makpal Abdrazakova, golden eagle hunter, saying (Kazakh): "Because I am a girl, many people ask me whether it is difficult for me to practice this, and I got used to such questions. It has been 10 years since I took up hunting. I started at age 13. I first started riding a horse and then I began to handle the bird and then went into the sport. In 2003, I became a master of the sport. Many people now know me and call me a girl-berkutchi (a golden eagle hunter). I hope that in the future there will be more berkutchi-girls". Golden eagle hunting competitions involve a variety of routines. One evaluates the bird's closeness to its master. When a stranger releases the bird far away from Makpal, it always comes back to her. The bond between a bird and its owner lays the groundwork for a successful performance. (SOUNDBITE) Makpal Abdrazakova, golden eagle hunter, saying (Kazakh): "My father started the art of golden eagle hunting. He has been handling birds for 20 years now. He was the first to bring the bird to our home so he laid the foundation of this craft in our family. The elders in the Almaty district taught my father this art and then he taught me the hunting skills. Firstly, I used to feed my golden eagle when my father was away. Then various competitions started and I started participating in them. These are my achievements in the competitions". Makpal is always welcomed at competitions by the local elders and professional hunters, but she hopes to inspire other women to help advance the sport. Kilmeny Duchardt, Reuters.

Female eagle hunter reaches new heights

Thursday, Mar 08, 2012 - 02:20

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