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180,000 bees kept on top of Notre Dame cathedral discovered alive

European bees never abandon their hives, he said.

Firefighters walk on a balcony of Notre Dame cathedral (Francois Mori/AP/PA)
Firefighters walk on a balcony of Notre Dame cathedral (Francois Mori/AP/PA)

Some 180,000 bees kept in in hives on Notre Dame’s lead roof have been discovered alive despite the destructive blaze at the Paris cathedral.

“I am so relieved. I saw satellite photos that showed the three hives didn’t burn. I thought they had gone with the cathedral,” Nicolas Geant, the monument’s beekeeper, told reporters.

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Carbon dioxide in the fire’s heavy smoke put the bees into a sedated state (Dave Thompson/PA)

Mr Geant has looked after the bees since 2013, when they were installed as part of a city-wide initiative to boost declining bee numbers.

Mr Geant said the carbon dioxide in the fire’s heavy smoke put the bees into a sedated state instead of killing them – adding that when bees sense fire they “gorge themselves on honey” and protect their queen.

European bees never abandon their hives, he said.

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