Bees to ward off elephants

Asia- Pacific Region Species Under Increased Plastic Threat

An innovative “fence of bees” is all set to dot the forest borders in states where human-elephant conflict is on a rise. This comes after the pilot project in Kodagu in Karnataka state became successful.

As part of Project RE-HAB (Reducing Elephant – Human Attacks using Bees), bee boxes were placed in four places near Chelur village in Kodagu. The area is known for more human-elephant conflict. The Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) is behind RE-HAB.

According to KVIC data, the four locations situate on the periphery of Nagarhole National Park in the state was witness to frequent elephant movement. After placing the “fence of bees” , the Khadi and Village Industries Commission pointed out that elephants withdrew to the forests rather than entering the villages. Moreover, the region where installation of “Fence of Bees” took place saw no destruction of the. The Khadi and Village Industries Commission said that a lot of farmers, including coffee planters, approached them to place such “fence of bees” in more areas.

Meanwhile, Union Minister for Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) Nitin Gadhari showered praises for the initiative. He said that the fence of bees provided relief to farmers. Besides, it also saved crops and precious lives, he said. West Bengal, Kerala, Jharkhand. Chattisgarh. Odisha, Tamil Nadu and Assam, which witnessed human – elephant conflict, are states where KVIC is planning to implement Project RE-HAB in a phased manner, he tweeted with a video of the initiative.

Meanwhile, KVIC Chairman Vinai Kumar Saxena told the media that scientific records showed that elephants are annoyed and even frightened of honey bees. The collective buzz of bees forced elephants to turn away, Saxena said. The Khadi and Village Industries Commission said that the “fence of bees” would give a solution to the long standing problem without causing any harm to the elephants. Moreover, the project is cost-effective when compared to other techniques like digging trenches or erecting fences.

In Chelur village in Kodagu. KVIC placed 15 to 20 interspersed bee boxes in each of the four locations around the village.

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