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People, Elephants and Bees

Last round we gave a grant to Mozambique to extend the model developed by Dr Lucy King – integrating bee hives into fences to deter elephants. This was so successful, we are now helping bring this technology to Asian elephants with the Sri Lanka Wildlife Conservation Society and the University of Newcastle.

Many methods have been trialled to deter elephants from raiding crops with varying success. One unique method demonstrating success in Africa is beehive fencing. A beehive fence is a simple construction of beehives hung from posts and connected to each other with wire, surrounding an area to be protected. Trials show that farms protected by beehive fencing experience less crop raids than nearby farms without, including programs supported by Taronga in the past. Thus, beehive fencing may play an important role in reducing farmer-elephant conflict. This project is the first to trial beehive fencing as an Asian elephant crop-raiding deterrent, and will work with farmers to establish and monitor beehive fences and to teach beekeeping skills. Data is collected on crop-raiding events, and demographic characteristics, personality, association patterns and genetic relatedness of elephants, using methods including researcher observations, farmer interviews, transect surveys and DNA analysis. Farmers should benefit from reduced crop-raiding and improved harvests, and also from additional income generated through honey sales.

Sri Lanka Wildlife Conservation Society is an international community-based organisation committed to the research, conservation and protection of Sri Lanka's endangered wildlife, communities, and natural habitats. 

What can you do?

Save and Create Animal Habitats: Bees are helping to protect elephants and people in Niassa, but they are an essential part of Australian ecosystems too. Help protect Australian bees by avoiding pesticides and keeping a variety of locally native plants in your garden.