Did you know beehives protect crops and save elephants in Tanzania?
Elephants are mighty large pachyderms. When they find tasty banana and maize crops they don’t hesitate to enjoy. Of course this doesn’t leave much for the farmer and her family.
Near Arusha, Tanzania’s third largest city with a population of over 700,000 there are 53 square miles of protected area. The Arusha National Park is home to elephants, buffalo, giraffe, all sorts of plains game, and even a few leopards. Around this reserve are many villages. One of these is Lendoiya, home to about 1500 souls.
For years the farmers of Lendoiya struggled to protect their crops from the elephants. Elder Wella tells about the huge one tusked elephant that would raid his fields. It was terrifying! Elizabeth had her entire banana crop devastated by a herd, destroying her much needed family income.
Elephants have colossal feet, measuring up to 18 inches (45 centimeters) in diameter. Elephants have voracious appetites, eating around 300lbs (136 kilos) of grass and foliage a day. In comparison humans consume about 4 pounds (less than 2 kilos) per day. In short one elephant consumes as much as 68 humans in one day.
Image for a moment: You’re trying to eek out an existence growing vegetables. The rains have been good, you’ve toiled in your maize field, and its growing nicely. Then one warm summer’s day an elephant matriarch and her twenty closest relatives, including a few youngsters, come calling. Months of hard work is eradicated. You stand there heartbroken. Where once you saw a promising harvest only a few ragged stalks remain.
It’s no wonder the farmers get mad at the elephants and attack them with spears. Sadly, this doesn’t usually end well. Elephants get injured and farmers get trampled. Moses Ryakitimbo heard about the human wildlife conflict in Lendoiya. Moses cares for both elephants and people. He went to learn more. He talked to the farmers and wanted to figure out a way to help.
Where humans live in close proximity with wild animals conflict happens. However, unlike so many other concerns impacting wildlife, this one has a win-win solution. Bees are proving to be the peacemakers as Mr. Daima said shortly after his beehive fence was installed, “I now know that it is possible for human and elephants to live in harmony.”
Moses did some research and found that elephants are not afraid of mice, but of bees. He found that placing beehives so they create a fence keeps the elephants away. Moses approached us at Nikela for support. We funded the pilot or Phase One of what Moses envisioned to be a massive beehive project to protect the village farms. Five farms were impacted by the installation of the first 10 beehives.
Mr. Baraka one of the first farmers had this to say,
“Over 50 elephants used to cross boundaries and destroy food crops like Maize (corn), potatoes and banana plantations. Since the beehives were mounted (four and a half weeks ago) I see a big difference in elephant numbers encroaching. Only 25 pass by.”
This initial success offered hope and led to many requests for beehives. Since early 2019 Nikela has sponsored 100 beehives. Farmers are now harvesting the best crops of maize, bananas and other vegetables in years. And, the bonus of all the beehives is honey. Golden delicious honey, both to enjoy and to sell.
However, it’s not time to rest on our laurels. Although the impact of the 100 bee hives is significant and the farmers involved are thrilled. Another 64 beehives are needed to protect the entire village of Lendoiya.
We’ve come so far. It’s not time to slow down. It’s time to get involved to protect crops and save elephants. It’s rather simple really. You sponsor a beehive. We send 100% of your gift to Moses. Oh, did I mention you get to name your beehive? Andreas, our very first sponsor, honored his baby boy Johann. The Vawdrey Family really got into it and sponsored 7 beehives.
If you sponsor one or seven 100% goes to…
- Buy the wood and materials
- Transport the materials to the workshop
- Construct, paint and label the beehives
- Transport to the field
- Install in the field
All this for only $109.50
From a beehive sponsor… Nancy P.
“Thanks for the good work you do sponsoring those on the ground, like Moses. This gift is to honor my mother who will be 96.”
Who are you going to honor?
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Nikela is a fundraising nonprofit on a mission to help people protecting nature, especially doing wildlife conservation.