In the remote region, which borders Russia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia and China live the last remaining men who hunt with eagles. There are no more than 50 to 70 of these men alive today and over the past four years I have made many trips to their home in the foothills of the Altai mountain range of western Mongolia to document their way of life, which is fast disappearing. “The golden eagle is like no other bird,’’ one hunter told me. “They want to be with you. They love you. And they love to kill for you.’ It is the bond between hunter and eagle that fascinated me and brought me to the project of documenting the burkitshi. They all had stories about how they loved their birds even more than their wives. And there’s a proverb that if a hunter’s father dies on the day the snow starts to fall, the hunter won’t be at the funeral because he’ll be up in the hills with his eagle.
Indian born, raised in Australia and now living in Hong Kong, Palani Mohan’s work has been published extensively by many of the world’s leading publications including National Geographic, Stern and Time magazine. He is the author of four books and is completing a fifth on the Mongolian nomads who hunt with eagles. His work is part of the collection of the National Portrait Gallery in London and his images have been shown around the globe including at the prestigious Visa Pour L’image in Perpignan, France. Recognized with awards including World Press Photo, Picture of the Year International and American Photo.