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.