Incredible as it may sound but forest officials in Uttar Pradesh have decided to use tiny bees to keep elephants at bay and prevent man-animal conflict.
Naveen Khandelwal, the Divisional Forest Officer of Pilibhit Tiger Reserve (PTR), said: “Beehives have produced outstanding results in drastically reducing the intrusion of elephants in cropped fields and village habitations in East African countries.
“Researchers have found that the tip of the elephant’s trunk is extremely sensitive and goes through excruciating pain when stung by a bee. This makes elephants respond with alarm to the buzz of aggressive bees. They quickly move away from the sound source.
“Besides, beekeeping has the additional advantage of producing honey, potentially diversifying and bettering the livelihoods of local communities. We have identified the villages and the training of beekeeping will be initiated there very soon.”
The Dudhwa Tiger Reserve (DTR) and PTR authorities have now embarked upon an innovative plan that will ensure peaceful cohabitation by promoting bee-keeping and using advanced technology.
The plan also encapsulates a coordinated strategy to promote the replacement of the sugarcane crop, which is a savoury food liked by jumbos, with some other remunerative crops.
Efforts are being made as a new elephant reserve, the Terai Elephant Reserve (TER), had been approved in principle by the Centre in April this year as an initiative of ‘Project Elephant’, which was to be set up in the joint forest area of DTR and PTR, measuring over 3,000 sq.km.
The TER will be notified by the end of the current year and will ensure the protection of jumbos.