Bear cub found high on hallucinogenic ‘mad honey’ in Turkey


Park rangers in Turkey found and rescued a disoriented brown bear cub that got high from eating too much hallucinogenic “mad honey,” made from rhododendrons.

Screengrab from Reuters video

Park rangers found a disoriented bear cub that ate a hallucinogenic type of honey, according to officials in Turkey.

High on “mad honey,” the baby brown bear lay on the brush-filled ground of a national park in Düzce, Turkey on Aug. 11, Reuters reported.

The bear sat in odd positions, partially slumped over and disoriented, photos shared on Twitter by Turkey’s Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry showed.

Park rangers put the bear into the back of their pickup truck where she wobbled around, looking confused, and sat, dazed and sprawled out, video from the ministry showed.

The bear was “exhausted” after consuming the large dose of honey, the ministry said.

“Mad honey,” known as “deli bal” in Turkish, is a type of honey that comes from specific species of rhododendron flowers, according to ZME Science. The nectar of these flowers has grayanotoxin, a neurotoxin that acts like a drug when consumed. In small amounts, “mad honey” causes hallucinations and a high buzz, the outlet reported. In overdose amounts, the honey causes vomiting, diarrhea, loss of consciousness, and other illnesses, ZME Science reported.

Beekeepers in Tukey’s Kaçkar mountains produce “mad honey” in small quantities, The Guardian reported. The outlet reported that hospitals in Turkey see dozens of cases of “mad honey poisoning” each year.

In the case of the bear cub, park rangers took her to the vet where she received treatment, the ministry said.

They also named her “Balkiz.” She is in good health and will be released into the wild as soon as possible, the ministry tweeted.

Düzce is about 130 miles east of Istanbul.

Aspen Pflughoeft covers real-time news for McClatchy. She is a graduate of Minerva University where she studied communications, history, and international politics. Previously, she reported for Deseret News.

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