A well-placed hive drives the pachyderms from the fields. It also produces honey.
|A herd of elephants in the savannah. If they approach the villages, bees can be chased away.|
Elephants, in some African countries, can be a problem. Confined to increasingly smaller areas due to human intrusions, they often leave the parks and plow the fields of nearby villages. However, the great elephant expert Ian Douglas-Hamilton, along with Fritz Vollrath of the Mpala research center, has discovered that these large animals can be frightened by the ferocious and aggressive African bees (Apis mellifera scutellata), which manage to drive away even more males big stinging them repeatedly in the most delicate parts.
Since the bees attack anything that threatens their hive, hanging the beehives in the trees and around the fields was enough to keep the elephants from approaching. The long memory of the elephants also works in this case, because an animal point remembers very well of the danger, and does not approach the fields, even if they are "protected" by empty beehives; probably recognize them even by the smell alone. According to experts, the proposal should be enthusiastically received, for example by the Masai, who are excellent bee breeders. The inhabitants of the areas around the parks can thus obtain a double profit, from the "saved" fields and from the honey produced by the bees themselves. Bee farming would also be part of a South African project, called "Beekeeping for poverty relief", which was launched at the Johannesburg summit last August.
(News updated November 7, 2002)