“Twice a year high in the Himalayan foothills of central Nepal, Gurung tribesmen gather around cliffs that are home to the world’s largest honeybee, Apis laboriosa. As they have for generations, the men come to harvest the Himalayan cliff bee’s honey, plying their ancient trade in treacherous conditions using no safety equipment.
It is beset by rituals and rites designed to appease the cliff gods and ensure of the safety of its hunters; the cliffs from which they harvest are more commonly known by the names of those who have fallen to their deaths in this endeavor. For hundreds of years, the skills required to perform this dangerous work have been passed down through the generations, but now both the bees and traditional honey hunters are seriously under threat.
I had known about honey hunting in Nepal for some time but after learning of the numerous threats to this ancient tradition, which dates back to around 11,000 BC, I decided to visit the Gurung people to see and hear for myself the problems they are facing. I spent two weeks living with them in a remote hilltop village in central Nepal’s Kaski district, to document the tradition before it disappears forever.”