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Photographer Captures Rare Glimpse Of Reindeer Riding Tribe In Stunning Pictures

Hamid Sardar

Our world is such a big place, we sometimes forget how different people can be across this beautiful planet.

While we drive to work, talk to each other on our cell phones, and surf the internet, there are cultures that still live much like they did hundreds of years ago.

Hamid Sardar

The Dukha people of Mongolia are one of those cultures.

Also known as the Tsaatan, or "reindeer herders," the Dukha live along Mongolia's Russian border.

Hamid Sardar
Hamid Sardar

For generations, the tribe lived as wandering nomads, using domesticated reindeer for transportation and hunting animals like moose and deer to feed themselves.

Hamid Sardar

Now, there are less than 300 Dukha living in just over 40 families, and their way of life is slowly changing with the times.

Hamid Sardar

Photographer and researcher Hamid Sardar captured a rare, close-up glimpse of life among the reindeer herders.

Sardar explains that the Dukha have a deep, spiritual relationship with the reindeer they herd.

Hamid Sardar

"The deer is a totem and each person in the tribe is connected to one spirit deer which protects that person, absorbing all disease," he told The Independent.

Hamid Sardar

"The Dukha do not have enough reindeer to use them for meat, so the only time they eat deer is when the spirit deer dies”

But as the Dukha's reindeer herd shrinks, their way of life is changing quickly.

The Dukha have moved their tribe closer to small towns, where they can take their children to hospitals and schools.

Taylor Weidman / Al-Jazeera

Restrictions by the government have also made it harder for the Dukha to hunt for their food.

With less and less reindeer to tend, the tribe has also started to rely on tourism to make ends meet.

Hamid Sardar

Visitors can ride the Dukha's domesticated reindeer, and watch their traditional performances.

But even as life changes for the Dukha, traditions are still passed from generation to generation.

Hamid Sardar

Eagle hunting, practiced by Mongolians for more than a thousand years, continues today as brave hunters and their birds catch martens and rabbits to feed their families.

Hamid Sardar
Hamid Sardar
The Dukha also hunt using trained wolves.Hamid Sardar

While the Dukha tribe's future is uncertain, Sardar's photos capture their remarkable way of life as it exists today.

Hamid Sardar

It hasn't changed much over hundreds of years, but this could be the world's last glimpse of the reindeer riders as we know them.

You can see more of Sardar's photos on his website.

Let's share these beautiful photos so everyone can appreciate them!

[H/T: Shareably, AlJazeera, Independent]

I write about all sorts of things for Shared, especially weird facts, celebrity news, and viral stories. CONTACT: zachary@shared.com