Where wild animals and people live close together human wildlife conflicts are inevitable. Then why are these farmers celebrating?
Well, it all started when one man had the notion that with a bunch of beehives the elephants would stay away. Moses took a risk. He approached us here at Nikela to sponsor 10 beehives to keep elephants from destroying farm crops.
Families were losing their livelihood, their food and at times their lives. Elephants were crushing their maize. Lone bulls were scaring old and young alike as they tramped through crop fields. Some farmers were grabbing spears and snares to kill the elephants. This often ended badly with humans and elephants injured.
Today a year later many farmers are celebrating. The elephants no longer traipse through their farms destroying everything in their path. Moses’ notion works. The 56 beehives forming five ‘fences’ are redirecting entire elephant herds.
Moses reports why these farmers are celebrating
Directly from Moses…
Last year on May 2019, Lendoiya village had almost five different elephant paths. Elephants used to cross easily from the wild places to the farms adjacent to the park. These farms are owned by farmers (Lendoiya community members) living on the sidelines of the Arusha National Park.
We thank Nikela for listening to our needs. We, Alert for Endangered Wildlife Species (AFeWiS), requested beehives to deter away elephants destroying food crops and Nikela responded well.
We started to see changes after installing the first 10 beehives. Elephants kept on changing paths from one farm to the next because bees chased them away in a haste way.
Currently, we have 56 beehives across 6 farms. Almost 50+ elephants used to cross over to Lendoiya village up until one year ago. Now all have disappeared and changed their paths close by the next village. Most elephants keep a distance from beehive fences, turn around and head back to the park. A few go to the borderlines of the Lendoiya village where we don’t have beehives yet. (36 more beehives needed to close the gap.)
On the side of Lendoiya, it’s a win win. This village was highly affected by ELEPHANTS destroying crops on a daily basis. But currently there are not any elephants or buffalo entering Lendoiya village were the beehives are located. The six farms are now safe and the six farmers celebrating. They are happy and relaxed waiting for a good harvest period.
We have successfully ended human elephant conflict at Lendoiya village by 95%.
Just one path is left were buffaloes and a few (5 to 6) elephants walk from the park and head straight to Ngarenanyuki village (adjacent to Lendoiya.) As soon as we close that path with the next phase of beehive fences (36 beehives) elephants will definitely pull back from the corridor that splits the two villages. In the past their main access to the village was via the beehive project site that’s currently secured with the installed 56 beehives.
Personal reports from the farmers
Moses continues telling us why these farmers are celebrating this harvest season in Tanzania.
We currently have six farmers benefiting from the beehive project. One of them is new, Mr Frank. He just joined this very January after reporting to us about elephants and buffaloes destroying his food crops. We installed 9 beehives on his farm. It’s almost a month now and he is very happy and astonished how the process works.
He said: Just one day after installing the 9 beehives, the very day bees entered the hives by late evening around 6pm before dark. The bees smell went all over the area and since then not any wild animal has attempted to invade his farm.
I quote as he said. ‘’I now believe that bees are peace keepers despite the harshness they have. I hope to cultivate maize and beans this time round June 2020.”
Mr Elidaima is one of the very first beneficiaries of the project. He’s farm was the main entrance that the elephants used for crossing in to the village but now NO MORE ELEPHANTS CROSS OR GET NEAR HIS FARM
I quote as he said. ‘’I really thank AFeWiS and Nikela and all her supporters for making sure we have the beehives. Ever since last year all I see is peace and no disturbances from elephants crossing into my farm. Elephants used their TUSKS and TRUNKS to even cut down a few of my trees that provide shade within my farm, but all those incidents are no more to me. My family and me, we are all safe. Thanks to the bees. I can even cultivate maize and beans at large.”
Mr Baraka was the first to invite us to Lendoiya village. He has always been of help and now no more buffaloes or elephants cross into his farm.
I quote as he said. ‘’When I first introduced AFeWiS to Lendoiya, I didn’t know that the bees will settle this mess I and friends had in our farms. But just after the first beehive installment I saw the difference within a very short time when I saw a group of elephants early in the morning around 6am running away from my farm and near my neighbors too.
This was a surprise to me, but also a new beginning of peace between our community and elephants. We have seen one farmer been killed around our Meru District the past two years and I wish he was introduced to this program, maybe he could still be alive.
But we will spread the message about bees around other villages so as for them to know. And may be some day Nikela will help them too.
I currently cultivated maize and beans in my farm and for the first time I was able to get almost 300 kilograms of beans and soon I will cultivate maize. Thanks to this program we now live in harmony with wildlife close to us.”
He’s also among the first five farmers on our list who benefited from the very start. He is one of the local village government leaders (village level), a very humble old men.
I quote as he said. “Am very happy to say that this solution of setting beehives at our village has worked very well and we see fruits of harmony between elephants and we the people or farmers around Lendoiya community. The local government is happy and sends love to Nikela and all supporters.
My farm was totally destroyed last year 2019 around April just one month before the beehive project started. I was so down almost gave up on staying close to wildlife, I almost wanted to shift to a far away location but when I met Mr Moses from AFeWiS, He told me let’s give bees a chance to help. I said okay with a smiling face knowing bees won’t do anything.
But we gave it a try! Just after a week I didn’t see any elephant or buffaloes crossing into my farm, and this year around April I’ll plant maize as much as I can.
NO WORRIES ANYMORE. I SEE ELEPHANTS AS MY FRIENDS NOW.
They graze far away from a distance very early in the morning around 6:00am to 6:30am and they head back to the Meru mountain that’s within the Arusha National Park. Human elephant conflicts have different solutions but a beehive approach was my first SURPRISE.”
Mr. Frank Nnko.
He is new to our Project, we just installed 9 beehives on his farm the last month on February 4th 2020. He’s farm is located near a swampy area where elephants, buffaloes and other wild animals come for green grass.
I quote him: “On my side I thought this beehive thing was a joke. Maybe just harvesting honey, but on the very first day when 9 beehives were installed on my farm, just after 3 hours around 6pm before the AFeWiS team left, almost 7 beehives already visited with bees getting in and out. I was shocked went close and witnessed for myself.
After a week I didn’t see any elephants or buffaloes getting close to those beehives. They graze within the park from a far distance. It’s a miracle to me. I thank all who support this. I believe I will harvest more maize and beans this year.”
Mr Wela and Moses.
These two farmers are close friends and they had one statement together.
I quote them: “We are now relaxed waiting for both honey and crop harvesting. Elephants are not a threat any more for us. Bees work on our behalf in taking care of our farms. We hope to see Nikela one day.”
We hope to see you all too later this year.
Isn’t that marvelous how those bees make such a difference? Where else can you find such a Win-Win situation? From conflict to harmony with a bunch of bees… Who’d a thought?
There are 36 more beehives needed to close the gap.
Sponsoring a beehive is easy.
100% of your charitable donation goes to the project.