In the south-east Asian country of Nepal, there is a tribe called “Gurung”, who practice an ancient tradition of collecting honey from wild bees, called “Honey Hunting”.
The Gurung people balance themselves on suspended rope ladders, and use long sticks called “Tangos” to prod and push off wild beehives along the cliffs of the Himalaya.
The honeycombs eventually separate from the Cliffside and fall into special hanging baskets the Gurung prepare in advance. They don’t use special safety gear and prefer to work barefoot.
Can you imagine balancing yourself on a plain rope ladder, trying to knock a beehive off of a cliff, all the while surrounded by hundreds of angry bees?
Sadly, the art of honey hunting might be gone soon. Despite having a rich history, the younger generation doesn’t seem to be interested in continuing it, following in their ancestor’s footsteps. Add to that the fact that climate change is causing bees to decline.
It’s possible that the greatest threat to honey hunting is the discovery of the amazing medicinal properties of Himalayan honey. The Nepalese government gives rights for harvesting local wild honey to foreign contractors rather than to the indigenous population, in order to speed up harvesting and use the honey for export.
The day the Gurung will have to change their way of life seem to be getting closer, but these magnificent pictures are a testament to this amazing practice and the unique way of life of the people of the Gurung tribe.