You’re kidding right? Beehives stop human wildlife conflicts with elephants?
Elephants are large animals and need space to live. The home range for wild African elephants can extend up to 6,835 square miles, which is about the size of Kuwait. Now that’s a lot of land! How can beehives stop human wildlife conflicts with elephants?
Human populations in Africa are exploding. In Tanzania, where Moses Ryakitimbo mitigates human wildlife conflict, the population has grown by 9 million in six years! From 50.8 in 2014 to an estimated 59.7 in 2020. Now that’s a lot of people!
Tanzania, probably best known for the Serengeti and the annual Wildebeest Migration has a frightening population-growth problem. Frightening as humans are increasingly encroaching on fruitful protected areas. The habitat for nature and the wildlife it supports is correspondingly getting smaller.
In the area around the Arusha National Park in northern Tanzania Moses found farmers and elephants in constant conflict. Here, not too far from Tanzania’s third largest city, with a population of over half a million, thousands of farmers grow mealies (maize/corn) and other crops in the fertile valleys. Being so close to the National Park, the elephants find the crops very inviting.
You can imagine what happens next: Elephants destroy crops. Farmers lose their food and livelihood. Farmers retaliate. Elephants get killed or injured. Farmers get killed or injured. And it ain’t pretty!
Moses noticed this escalating problem. Moses started talking to the farmers. Moses started talking to others in areas with similar problems. Moses discovered that elephants, unlike we’ve been led to believe, aren’t afraid of mice, but of bees. Elephants have very sensitive trunks. Bee stings are very painful for an elephant so they avoid them.
Setting up beehives so they create a “fence” on farm perimeters keeps elephants out of crop fields seemed like a viable solution. Moses reached out to us at Nikela. In early 2019 with his plan to build the first beehive fence. But he needed funds to do so. For around $50 a beehive he could design, build and install a fence of 12 beehives.
We took a leap of faith. The first beehive fence was completed. The farmers were ecstatic. One reported after 25 elephants had routinely come through his farm now he’d only seen five nearby. The bees were doing their job.
Now six months later the fourth and fifth beehive fences are installed (that’s 56 beehives.) Moses is thrilled at the results. It of course hasn’t been without challenges. Like bees trying to inhabit the beehives before they’re installed. And discovering that closer together was better. And that the design and construction of the beehive did matter.
However, Moses reports that his team has gotten it down and are ready to keep building and installing. All that’s needed is the funding to do so. Farmers are begging Moses to be next. There are about …. Beehive fences still needed. Each beehive fence consists of 12 beehives, each beehive costs $50.
The cool thing is if you sponsor a beehive Moses will put your name on it. Now, some folks are enjoying dedicating a beehive to a child, friend or deceased loved one who had a passion for elephants.
It doesn’t matter, you can put whoever’s name on your beehive or simple sponsor a hive because you care.
Sponsor your beehive today…