Maize crop protected. Elephants saved. Happy woman farmer can feed her family.
There are many elephants in the Arusha National Park in Tanzania. This 53 square miles of protected area, near the country’s third largest city, is surrounded by villages. In days gone by elephant herds moved freely up and down much of the continent of Africa.
Elephants, like other wild animals, go where there is ample food and water. A senior female elephant, usually known as the Matriarch, leads the herd. She remembers from year to year where to take her herd. Yes, elephants truly do have excellent memories.
Today, elephants’ movements are restricted by human activity. Their migratory paths have been interrupted by cities, roads and fences. In general elephants keep their distance from humans. However, unprotected farm crops can be mighty tempting.
Last September a herd of elephants discovered Elizabeth’s bananas. Elizabeth is a woman farmer. She supports her husband and four children by growing bananas and other crops. Having her banana plantation destroyed by elephants was very bad news. In an attempt to recover from the loss Elizabeth planted maize.
About a month ago she saw her neighboring farmers’ fields were protected by beehives. She remembered how last year they had fabulous harvests. The first in several years.
“We have our first woman farmer asking for beehives.” Moses Ryakitimbo reported to us. He was both surprised and thrilled that Elizabeth, a woman farmer, was stepping up to request her maize crop be protected from elephants. Moses determined it would take a mere eight beehives to include Elizabeth’s maize fields in the safety zone created by the existing beehive fences.
However, we had to act quickly. Elizabeth’s crops were growing and the elephants would surely return. In no time at all women from around the world stood up to help Elizabeth. (Women like Marti from Texas, Anwar from India and Tamarin from Hawaii for example.)
Today Elizabeth’s eight beehives stand proudly protecting her maize. How can she be so confident this will work you might ask?
Well, it has for Mr. Nanyaro who says…
“Nikela is a blessing to our village. I wish to meet them some day and say thank you. I have 10 beehives in my farm that were mounted by Moses and his field team, and since then I have never even seen elephant dung around my farm and all sites surrounding my “maize farm” this means elephants don’t come here anymore we just see them from a far and this gives me a feeling that elephants are good mammals because they don’t disturb me anymore. This project simply protects elephants and people.. thanks to Margrit and Russ and all supporter’s doing this through Nikela.”
And he is not alone. All the farms protected by beehives have successfully kept the elephants away.
Elder Wella has this to say…
“It’s now almost one year I don’t see the One Tusked Elephant.”
Elder Wella smiled for a while…
“I can’t imagine that these small flies called ‘bees’ can pull out such a huge and big animal away and back to the park.. thanks to Nikela for their support in this. We plant, we harvest and we eat what we planted in the soil. Beehives are just a blessing.”
Shortly after returning from installing Elizabeth’s eight beehives with his team Moses received a phone call. Two other women farmers were requesting beehives.
With 100 beehives installed in two years the word of their success is spreading. More beehives are needed to protect more farms and save the elephants.
You ready to get involved? It’s truly a most amazing win-win situation. Elephants don’t get speared by angry farmers. Farmers don’t get trampled by huge elephants. Farm crops don’t get destroyed by invading pachyderms and many families don’t go hungry. Oh yes, and I almost forgot. More bees means more honey to both enjoy and sell.
So, what are you waiting for? Sponsor a beehive today.
[Your gift covers cost of lumber, transportation to the workshop, construction, painting, transport to the field, installation materials and complete set up.]
Prefer to donate the old-fashioned way? By mail?
We make tax deductible donations simple
Nikela is a fundraising nonprofit on a mission to help people protecting nature, especially doing wildlife conservation.