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Karnataka: ‘Fence of honeybees’ around village curbs elephant-human conflict, to be replicated in other states

More states in India are probably to set up fences of honeybees in areas susceptible to human-elephant battle, after a pilot initiative in Karnataka’s Kodagu was discovered to be profitable in the previous month.

Union Minister for Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) Nitin Gadkari hailed the initiative Thursday. “It has provided relief to farmers, and is saving crops and precious lives. West Bengal, Jharkhand, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Assam, Tamil Nadu and Kerala are major elephant–human conflict zones where KVIC is planning to implement Project RE-HAB in a phased manner,” he tweeted with a video of the initiative.

Under Project RE-HAB (Reducing Elephant – Human Attacks utilizing Bees), launched in Karnataka final month by Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC), packing containers with bees had been positioned at varied places close to Chelur village in Karnataka’s Kodagu. Officials had hoped that the buzzing of the bees would confuse and frighten the elephants, making them flip away. The complete value of the pilot undertaking was estimated to be around Rs 15 lakh.

Now that it’s to be taken to other states, KVIC officers mentioned Gadkari had “emphasised the participation of the Agriculture ministry and the Environment and Forest ministry for the effective implementation of the project.”

KVIC Chairman Vinai Kumar Saxena mentioned, “The initiative can reduce human-elephant conflicts, increase farmers’ income through beekeeping, and potentially address climate change, regenerate forest cover and ensure food security for wild animals in their natural habitats.”

According to knowledge issued by KVIC from 4 places on the periphery of Nagarhole National Park in Karnataka, elephant motion was detected in the world a number of instances in the final fortnight of March.

“However, a number of elephants were seen returning to the jungles fearing honey bees. Also, no destruction of crops or properties by elephants has been reported in these areas since these bee boxes were kept on the passageways of elephants,” Saxena mentioned.

Further, with the assistance of night-vision cameras, officers mentioned they’ve captured key footage of elephants’ behaviour on seeing the bee-boxes, which may be useful for the enlargement of the undertaking.

Most human fatalities due to human-elephant battle, in accordance to KVIC, passed off in West Bengal (403), Orissa (397), Jharkhand (349), Assam (332), and Chhattisgarh (289) between 2014 and 2019.

Saxena mentioned state governments dig up trenches, erect rail-fencing and spiked pillars, set up electrical fences and electrical wire curtains to hold elephants away from human territories. “While these efforts fail to achieve the purpose, they also end up killing elephants in the most tragic ways,” he highlighted.

Owing to the success of the pilot, extra farmers, together with espresso planters in and around Kodagu, have approached KVIC with a request to set up such fences in extra areas.

“Farmers in the area were not aware that such a technique would work well initially. However, with the sudden dip in the frequency of elephants entering the area, this initiative has become the talk of the town. We are ready to share the science behind this with more people to help them develop this on their own as well,” Banglu Venugopal, KVIC Nodal Officer in Madikeri, informed Indianexpress.com.



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