Incredible Photos Of China's Eagle Hunters Keeping An Ancient Tradition Alive

02/10/2015 06:01 pm ET | Updated Feb 11, 2015

In parts of China, Kazakhstan, Russia and Mongolia, men have been using birds to hunt for meat and fur for centuries. China's ethnic Kazakh minority is now doing all it can to preserve that ancient art.

Getty Images photographer Kevin Frayer has documented one such effort, an eagle-hunting festival which was organized by the local hunting community in Qinghe County in China's northwestern Xinjiang province last month.

The hunters, who ride on horseback with an eagle on their arm, are known locally as the "Lords of the Birds," the BBC reported.

Take a look at Kevin Frayer's stunning photos of the eagle hunters below.

  • Kevin Frayer / Getty Images
    Chinese Kazakh eagle hunters, who are all brothers from the Beysenbay family, ride together with their eagles before a local competition in the mountains of Qinghe County, Xinjiang, northwestern China on Jan. 29, 2015. The festival, organized by the local hunting community, is part of an effort to promote and grow traditional hunting practices for new generations in the mountainous region of western China that borders Kazakhstan, Russia and Mongolia. The training and handling of the large birds of prey follows a strict set of ancient rules that Kazakh eagle hunters are preserving for future generations.
  • Kevin Frayer / Getty Images
    A Chinese Kazakh eagle hunter rides with his eagle as he arrives for a local competition in the mountains of Qinghe County, China, on Jan. 30, 2015.
  • Kevin Frayer / Getty Images
    Spectators watch as an eagle that was released by a Chinese Kazakh eagle hunter flies above the crowd during a local competition in the mountains of Qinghe County, China, on Jan. 30, 2015.
  • Kevin Frayer / Getty Images
    Chinese Kazakh eagle hunters ride with their eagles during a local competition in the mountains of Qinghe County, China, on Jan. 30, 2015.
  • Kevin Frayer / Getty Images
    A Chinese Kazakh eagle hunter hunts with his eagle during a local competition in the mountains of Qinghe County, China, on Jan. 30, 2015.
  • Kevin Frayer / Getty Images
    Spectators watch a Chinese Kazakh eagle hunter release his bird during a local competition in the mountains of Qinghe County, China, on Jan. 30, 2015.
  • Kevin Frayer / Getty Images
    A Chinese Kazakh boy watches during a local eagle hunting competition in the mountains of Qinghe County, China on Jan. 31, 2015.
  • Kevin Frayer / Getty Images
    Chinese Kazakh eagle hunter Margars Mazkin, 74, sits with his eagle before leaving for a competition in the mountains of Qinghe County, China on Jan. 31, 2015.
  • Kevin Frayer / Getty Images
    A Chinese Kazakh horseman watches at an eagle hunting competition in the mountains of Qinghe County, China, on Jan. 31, 2015.
  • Kevin Frayer / Getty Images
    Chinese Kazakh eagle hunters laugh together as they rest during a local competition in the mountains of Qinghe County, China, on Jan. 31, 2015.
  • Kevin Frayer / Getty Images
    A Chinese Kazakh eagle hunter releases his eagle during a local competition in the mountains of Qinghe County, China, on Jan. 31, 2015.
  • Kevin Frayer / Getty Images
    A Chinese Kazakh eagle hunter sits on his horse as he waits before a local competition in the mountains of Qinghe County, China, on Jan. 30, 2015.
  • Kevin Frayer / Getty Images
    Chinese Kazakh eagle hunter Bolat Beysenbay sits atop his horse as he holds his eagle before a local competition in the mountains of Qinghe County, China on Jan. 29, 2015.
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