The Karnataka government's project Reducing Elephant Human Attacks using Bees (RE-HAB), which was launched last month, has significantly reduced the elephant-human conflict.
This project is being implemented by the Khadi Village Industries Commission (KVIC). As part of the project, boxes filled with bees were placed in four locations on the periphery of Nagarhole National Park in the Kodagu district, where several incidents of elephant attacks on humans have been reported.
The bees act as a barrier to prevent elephants from entering areas of human settlement.
Project RE-HAB is an effective way of restricting elephants from entering the villages because elephants are naturally afraid of bees as they might sting the elephants in their eyes and inner trunk. Furthermore, the buzzing of the bees in certain frequencies also make the elephants irritable and subsequently drive them away.
"It is a unique, cost-effective way of preventing elephant-human conflicts without causing any harm to the animals and the humans," said Vinai Kumar Saxena, chairman of KVIC.
The night vision cameras installed at these locations show evidence of the success of the project. The bee boxes not only reduced the movement of elephants at the respective points but also recorded amazing footage of the elephants' behaviour on seeing the boxes. A number of elephants were seen backing off from the points where the bee boxes have been installed, reported India Today.
This project proved to be highly effective and was praised by several ministers. Union Minister Nitin Gadkari on Thursday said that project RE-HAB would soon be implemented in certain areas of states West Bengal, Jharkhand, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Assam, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
Since 2015, approximately 2,400 people have been killed in elephant attacks, and huge damage to property and crops have been recorded. Various state governments had taken several preventive measures like digging up trenches, electric fencing, spiked pillars etc., but nothing came off as effective and harmless as project RE-HAB.