Every year, for centuries in Nepal the members of the Gurung tribesmen have risked their lives to become the master of wild honey hunters in the foothills of the Himalayan range, using nothing more than long sticks called ‘Tagos’, long rope ladders and smoke. These hunters twice a year dare to climb the inaccessible, southward facing cliffs of the mountain side that the wild bees choose to avoid predators and get ample sunlight. These hunters dangle hundred of feet from the ground on rope ladders with no tools, hardly any protection and nothing but a strong will-power to push themselves forward.
Now these aren’t just any honey or ordinary bees for that matter, these bees are the largest honeybees in the world and in the Himalayan hills. Their nectar has strong hallucinogenic and medical properties that have been sought after for centuries.
Today these honeys are sought worldwide for their hallucinogenic and medicinal properties causing a major threat to the livelihood of these traditional, responsible honey hunters. The spring ‘Red Honey’ is increasingly exported to eastern countries for their traditional medicines and sold for approximately $US15 per kilogram. This demand has caused a shift of ownership of these cliffs away from the indigenous Gurung tribesmen to the Government, allowing open honey-harvesting rights to contractors.