ERIC TOURNERET
As night falls, Then Mari carries a home-made tin container at the end of a bamboo pole. Tonight, the objective is not to collect honey but to remove three bee nests that are in the way of tomorrow's harvest.Hundreds of Apis Dorsata, Asian giant bees, are gathered on the honeycomb to fill themselves with honey in order to survive the harvest. The biology of this bee variety is uncommon. They nest in a single comb on cliff overhangs, and their seasonal migration can reach a distance of 150 km.As he is surrounded by thousands of bees, Then Mari's nimbleness is striking. It's a reminder that the Irulas have always been protected by forest goddess Magaliaman who granted them an immunity to the bee's venom.The honey hunters team is walking in the jungle with the rope to the cliff.Two bees on a flower's stamens represent two species of honey producing Asian bees. Apis Cerena nests in hollow tree trunks and holes and builds parallel combs. Apis dorsata, the giant bee, builds a unique comb on cliff overhangs and tree branches.A fragment of honeycomb is about to be hand pressed. The Keystone Foundation has been working on ways to improve the honey quality for 15 years. Hand pressing honey is prohibited as it mixes wax with the honey, but it still happens in the heat of action.
INDIA, HONEY OF THE UNTOUCHABLES: In the blue hills, things happen in a different way. All over the world, bees are vanishing (largely due to manmade pesticides), but here it's the honey gatherers who are at risk of disappearing.

In the southern part of the sub-continent, UNESCO's very first Indian biosphere holds a treasure of biodiversity. It is home to Asia's largest populations of tigers and wild elephants, while bears and white buffalos prosper... A handful of Adivasis aborigine tribes still live on the forest, aside India's mainstream society and cast system. Under the overhangs of tall cliffs in the heart of a high altitude jungles is where the giant bee can be found.

We meet Then Mari, age 62, in a village of Irulas honey hunters. Then Mari has been climbing cliffs to collect honey for forty years. For five days, we accompany his group of ten young men to a holy cliff, home to over 65 giant bee swarms! The jungle around us is deep and thick, inhabited with honey-hungry bears and unpredictable elephants. It's buzzing with insects and clad with the screams of monkeys.

ERIC TOURNERET has traveled the world to photograph honey bees since 2004. His skill has long been on view in French magazines, such as Figaro Magazine, Paris Match, VSD, Terre Sauvage, GEO, Point de vue, and Femme actuelle.