Himalayan Honey Harvest

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Like birds, bees are a common thread on these pages, for both their innate beauty, and their importance to life on earth. Although much of the honey on the market in the world today comes from cultivated hives, the history of gathering wild honey goes back millennium. 

For generations the Gurung tribespeople of central Nepal have assembled twice a year around cliffs filled with colonies of  the world’s largest honeybee, Apis laboriosa. This dangerous Himalayan honey-harvest was recently documented by U.K.-based travel photographer Andrew Newey, who spent two weeks capturing this dying tradition, which is under the threat of commercialization.

“For hundreds of years, the skills required to perform this dangerous task have been passed down through the generations” writes Newey, “but now both the bees and traditional honey hunters are in short supply.”

The honey hunting is extremely risky, as the hunters still use the same handmade rope ladders and long sticks – tangos – that their ancestors used. They wouldn’t be able to each the bees’ inaccessible cliff-face nests otherwise. By placing their nests on cliff faces, the bees avoid predators and increase their exposure to sunlight.

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