Fahad Kaizer

Mawals - the golden liquid hunter

The Sunderban, estuarine forest in the southern part of Bangladesh, is the area of operation of some honey hunters. They are known as "Mawals". Honey gathering may sound like a normal rural occupation but it is perhaps the most unsafe and tricky job in the world. The Honey hunters normally go from island to island for about three weeks with their boats to collect honey, made by some of the largest and most aggressive bees in the world. The honey hunters take risk of their lives against pirates and wild animals including pythons, cobras, crocodiles and Royal Bengal Tigers for the honey which is treated as liquid gold. The harvest ritual, which varies slightly from community to community, begins with a prayer and sacrifice of flowers, fruits, and rice. Then a fire is lit at the base of the cliff to smoke the bees from their honeycombs.

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