3. Mongolia – The eagle hunters of the West

In the West of Mongolia, we are working with the Kazakh eagle hunters (or falconers, to use the term preferred locally). The community is made up of kind, hardy and family-focused people and to witness the extraordinary relationship between the falconers, their huge golden eagles and their horses is to see something as astonishing and mesmerising as it is unique. Climate change is bringing with it desertifcation of the local grasslands (which are essentially akin to 'upside-down rainforests' when it comes to carbon sequestration), the winters are shortening, water is becoming more scarce and animal behaviours are changing. The very way of life of the eagle hunters is increasingly under pressure. We are working with the community and our local project partner, the Kazakh Falconry Association, to help to promote sustainable eco- and cultural- tourism and other social and economic opportunities and to build a community centre to support the falconer community and their all-important grasslands.