The Himalayan Cliff Bee Apis laboriosa and the Honey Hunters of Kaski: Indigenous Honeybees of the Himalayas (Vol. 1) (2003)
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The Himalayan honeybees play an important role in mountain livelihoods and cultures as well as a critical role in pollination. But they are little understood elements of mountain biodiversity, and there is little concrete information available about indigenous species in the wild. This publication presents the results of a detailed study of the Himalayan cliff bee (Apis laboriosa) and the honey hunter communities associated with it in the high mountain areas of Kaski district in central Nepal. The characteristics of the nesting site cliffs, the local bee flora, and the honey hunting rituals, practices, and methods, are listed and described. The continued existence of this bee is threatened both by changes in habitat and human interference, foreshadowing a loss of indigenous culture and knowledge in the honey hunting communities. The many threats to the bees (whose numbers are declining) and to this traditional system are discussed together with new economic and biological opportunities, and specific recommendations are made.