It might seem strange to some, but honey farmer and inventor Manuel Juraci is unashamed to call a jackass both a colleague and a friend.
Like many living in Brazil’s sprawling semi-arid shrubland known as the Caatinga, Manuel turned to beekeeping as a means of subsistence in the largely arid and uncultivable region. But in a stroke of countryside genius, he’s forged an unlikely animal partnership with what just might be the world’s only beekeeping donkey (that has the necessary garb to boot) — and it’s making all the difference.
In recent years, harvesting honey has grown signifcantly in Manuel’s little rural town of Itatira, in the Brazilian state of Ceará — in fact, the bees there are the biggest producers around. But of 120 or so beekeepers in Itatira, Manuel and his donkey Boneco are among the most successful, thanks in part to Manuel’s invention: the donkey-sized beekeeper’s suit that keeps his partner safe from stings.