Incredible Photos of the Traditional Art of Honey Hunting

honey hunting

Travel and documentary photographer Andrew Newey recently went on a journey of central Nepal, and he spent 14 days living amongst the Gurung tribes’ people in order to witness and photograph the traditional art of honey hunting. Newey is an award-winning UK-based photographer, and he was able to document riveting images of the central Nepalese Gurung tribe members while they were in the process of doing the perilous and ancient honey hunting activity.

honey hunting in nepal

In this series, Newey graphically shows the dangers involved with this tradition, which few have ever witnessed. Requiring great skill passed through many generations while suspended unsteadily on rope ladders, honey hunters put their lives at risk just to gather the honey. Armed with long sticks called tangos, they use this difficult to control tool to knock the honeycomb off the Himalayan Cliffside, skillfully maneuvering them into baskets that are on the ground.

honey hunting nepal

They point these long sharp bamboo poles for cutting the honey-filled hives. But first, they must light fires at the bottom of the cliff to create billows of smoke to ferret out the bees, and then they climb their ladders and gather the honey.

nepal honey hunting

Shot in amazing detail, these photographs give the outside world a look into the Gurung honey hunters’ way of life. The series also serves as a lasting record for this fading tradition. The practice of honey hunting is dwindling due to many things like the the lessening number of honeybees because of climate change as well as the declining number of honey hunters since the younger generation seems disinterested in the tradition.

honey hunting practice

It also does not help that the government has opened honey-harvesting rights to entrepreneurs rather than to local tribe’s people so that honey can be exported, fetching high prices in China, Japan and Korea. The commercialization and offering of “honey hunt tours” to visitors has also contributed to the reduction of resources left for traditional honey hunters to gather.

honey hunting practice nepal

See Newey’s incredible shots of the vanishing practice here.

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Patricia Ramos

Patricia Ramos

I am a freelance photographer who is no stranger to smudged lenses, long hours in front of the computer, heavy camera bags (and the back aches that ensued) and missing lens caps. If you know what I'm talking about, you probably have as much love and passion for photography as I do.