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Himalayan giant honey bees spotted in Chiang Mai


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Himalayan giant honey bees have been spotted in Doi Pha Hom Pok National Park, Chiang Mai province, a first-time occurrence, evidencing that the nation’s ecological system is ideal for unique species.

 

The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation, together with a team of biology researchers from Chulalongkorn University’s Faculty of Sciences, made the announcement yesterday.

 

The unexpected discovery took place last May. A group of biologists had been tracking the Kaiser-I-Hind, a scarce butterfly species previously sighted within the boundaries of Doi Pha Hom Pok National Park. During their exploration, they encountered a swarm of bees, distinguishable by their entirely black abdomen, golden yellow fur on the thorax, and muted wing colour. The team collected three specimens for comprehensive analysis.


Nattapot Warrit, a researcher from the team, highlighted that this find substantiates the existence of the rare species via DNA testing. This comes after a photograph, believed to be the first of the Himalayan giant honey bee in Thailand, was posted on the iNaturalist website in 2020.


Nattapot explained that these giant bees generally inhabit chilly landscapes at altitudes of 1,000 to over 4,500 metres, where temperatures are below 25 degrees celcius. Previous sightings have been recorded in China, Nepal, India, Myanmar, and Vietnam, but never in Thailand.

 

“This discovery proves that Thailand has a perfect ecological system for the cave bee. This pollinator plays a significant role in increasing the population of specific plants that grow in a low-temperature environment.”

 

About 95% of its hives are found in caves, earning it the moniker, cave bee. With individual colonies ranging from 50,000 to 100,000 bees, it is considered one of the most significant honey producers globally. Its presence is crucial in mountainous regions due to its ability to aid in plant territorial expansion.

 

Climate change

 

However, Warrit voiced concern over the potential impact of climate change on the giant bee population. Increasing temperatures could lead to a decline in their numbers.

 

“Our study found the giant bee migrates to Thailand in March and leaves in July. But if the temperatures on high mountains aren’t cold enough, they might not come back.”

 

The team discovered three hives within the national park and is optimistic about finding more in other national parks in Chiang Mai province and the northeastern region, reported Bangkok Post.

 

Department’s deputy chief, Songkiat Tatiyanond, hailed the discovery as a testament to the department’s successful efforts in preserving the forest’s delicate ecological system. He assured further support for the ongoing study of this rare bee species.

 

by Puntid Tantivangphaisal

Photo courtesy of Bangkok Post

 

Source: The Thaiger 2024-04-22

 

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3 hours ago, webfact said:

Himalayan giant honey bees have been spotted in Doi Pha Hom Pok National Park, Chiang Mai province, a first-time occurrence, evidencing that the nation’s ecological system is ideal for unique species

Maybe they're just passing through?

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3 hours ago, hotchilli said:

Maybe they're just passing through?

 

“Our study found the giant bee migrates to Thailand in March and leaves in July. But if the temperatures on high mountains aren’t cold enough, they might not come back.”

 

The buzz around here is that the Government should install Cave Cooling Plant {CCP}, to encourage them to stay just that  little bit longer  !

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A 'rare species' yet the biologists collected three for study presumably resulting in death for those insects. An ordinary Thai was imprisoned for fifteen years for collecting wild honey so what sentence applies in this case?

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4 minutes ago, Nick Carter icp said:

 

   Do you have a link to that story ?

That is the excuse that illegal loggers usually use 

I read it on Thai Visa forum long ago reported from a news item. As I recall, two people were charged because the hive(s) were in a national park.

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8 minutes ago, PETERTHEEATER said:

I read it on Thai Visa forum long ago reported from a news item. As I recall, two people were charged because the hive(s) were in a national park.

 

   They may have been charged and the maximum penalty could have been 15 years in jail, but I doubt very much that they got jailed for 15 years , most likely just got a small fine 

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6 minutes ago, Nick Carter icp said:

 

   They may have been charged and the maximum penalty could have been 15 years in jail, but I doubt very much that they got jailed for 15 years , most likely just got a small fine 

You're probably right Nick. At the time there was strong discussion on the different application of the law to those of lower social status and those perceived as higher status. Nothing has changed taking the ongoing Thaksin circus as an example.

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