Observing how honey-gathering skills are passed from one generation to another, and how such skills are retained, provides important insight into the way people acquire and deploy different types of social knowledge at different ages, research shows. For a tribal community living in the forested Western Ghats mountain range in southern India, the central cultural, spiritual and economic role honey collection plays is illustrated by its name Jenu Kuruba which translates into honey collectors.A decade ago about 30,000 Jenu Kuruba lived in or near state-controlled, dry deciduous forests, earning the bulk of their income from work on local coffee estates, and supplementing their wages by selling wild honey to local shops and a state-run cooperative. The villages belonged mainly to Jenu Kurubas, but also other communities such as Betta Kurubas, Yeravas and the Bedugas. There are also the designated sacred groves, no-go areas hidden amidst around 25 different kinds of forestland that they frequent for honey, soapnut, fungus, fruits and seeds.However, a recent NGO report notes that but many families were relocated. Nilgiri forests have a record of forced eviction, violence and resistance. Even last year, demonstrations were held by the same community, against a forced eviction from the tiger reserve.The primary demand of the Jenu Kuruba people is to be allowed to plant forest trees in degraded patches and promote organic farming on the fringes of the jungle, where chemical-laced crops are keeping honeybees at bay. They say it is the best way to save the trinity they worship forests, wild animals and people. In a recent interview published in Mongabay, Shesha, a youngster hailing from Sajjehalli Hadi in the district of Kodagu (erstwhile Coorg) in Karnataka said, Leave the conservation to us. Our great-grandfathers grew up here and we know the forest very well.The Jenu Kuruba people are critical of the Forest Department for what practices they term as unfriendly measures, such as installing metal rails, digging trenches and erecting electric fences that prevent animals from entering villages on the edges of the forests. They kill the animals, and so animals turn violent. Animals need their space, said Shivu J.A., a tribal youth activist from Karadikkallu, a village close the Kerala state border. Another tribe member, Vasantha, reminisces how they co-existed in the forests with the animals, without any fear. We shared this space with elephants. We had no fear. These forests are not just our mother and father, but also our temple. We live here, and our ancestors rest here. Animals are our family, and we live with them.In the same interview, forest officials, insist that colonial conservation practices that excluded the indigenous tribes are an old story, There is no pressure (on the tribes) to leave the forest, said Harshakumar Chikkanaragund, Deputy Conservator of Forests and Director, Nagarhole Tiger Reserve. They have been living in these forests from time immemorial. We learn from them and work with them.