In one of the planet’s most desolate and harsh terrains, the Altai Mountains which run from Siberia in Russia down to Mongolia’s Gobi Desert, hunting with eagles is currently only practiced by a handful of Kyrgyz and Kazakhs.

This form of falconry, the practice of hunting with the aid of birds of prey, can be traced back as far as 4,000 years in Central Asia.

Since 2014, after leaving a senior corporate job and wanting to document remote cultures around the world, photographer Tariq Zaidi has been photographing the Kazakh eagle hunters. For Kazakhs living in western Mongolia, hunting with eagles is a proud art, and one of the highest expressions of their cultural heritage.

Today, the art is slowly dying out, as there are only about 70 traditional eagle hunters left in the world. For these remaining few, it is not simply an important tradition or an extraordinary sport; it is their reason to live.