Bengaluru: The Khadi Village Industry Corporation (KVIC) through the RE-HAB project of the Honey Mission Programme has aimed to reduce elephant attacks on humans and farmers’ crops.
Manoj Kumar, Chairman, KVIC distributed live bee colonies, bee-keeping equipment and 200 bee-boxes to the trained beneficiaries at Sullia in Dakshina Kannada, Karnataka under the RE-HAB Project, an initiative under the Honey Mission Programme.
Officials said that under the Project RE-HAB, “Bee-fences” are created by setting up bee boxes in the passageways of elephants to block their entrance to human habitats.
The boxes are connected with a string so that when elephants attempt to pass through, a tug or pull causes the bees to swarm the elephant herds and dissuade them from moving further.
Officials said that this is a cost-effective way of reducing human-wild conflicts without causing any harm to the animal. It is scientifically recorded that elephants fear the bee swarms that can bite their sensitive inner side of the trunk and eyes. The collective buzz of the bees annoys elephants which force them to return.
Speaking on this occasion, Manoj Kumar said, “It was seen that Bees help the farmers in arresting the encroachment of elephants in their agricultural fields and destroy them. Not only this, some precious lives are also lost in that condition. Taking an initiative, KVIC initiated a pilot project with the technical assistance of the College of Forestry, Ponnampet, Kodagu District and the results were encouraging. Hence, 6 such projects were sanctioned in the most wanted states namely Assam, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Orissa, Uttarakhand apart from Karnataka.”
Under the RE-HAB, farmers are trained in bee-keeping and each of them are supplied with 10 bee boxes and installed in the elephant corridors so that bee boxes and bee hives are placed in the elephant corridor to restrict elephants from approaching the agricultural field.
This pilot project has shown very good results in Ponnampet. This project has also helped in increasing agricultural output due to enhanced pollination as well as honey extraction, he said.