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Eagles soar when an ancient tradition comes to life

Shamil Zhumatov / Reuters

A hunter releases his tamed golden eagle during an annual hunting competition outside Almaty, Kazakhstan Dec. 9, 2011.

Shamil Zhumatov / Reuters

A hunter with his tame golden eagle sits on a stage during an annual hunting competition outside Almaty, Kazakhstan on Dec. 9, 2011.

I would love to see these eagles in person. What beautiful creatures.

These hunters are continuing their country's ancient tradition that originated in using eagles to hunt for food. According to the BBC, the Kazakhstan government has been encouraging these eagle hunting competitions actually as a way to help the falcon population, which was facing extinction. The audience the golden eagles attract helps fund a falcon conservation center.

Shamil Zhumatov / Reuters

A tame golden eagle is seen during an annual hunting competition outside Almaty, Kazakhstan on Dec. 9.

A hunter releases his tame golden eagle during an annual hunting competition outside Almaty, Kazakhstan Dec. 9.