Reducing man-elephant conflict is on the list of Karnataka officials as there have been cases where conflicts between humans and wildlife have led to fatalities.
In this process, the officials are currently placing boxes with bees in four locations near Chelur village, Kodagu, where some man-elephant conflicts have been seen in the past. Image: IE
Reducing man-elephant conflict is on the list of Karnataka officials as there have been cases where conflicts between humans and wildlife have led to fatalities. In order to mitigate such risks, a fence of honey bees will be placed around villages in Karnataka. This way has been chosen as it will not harm animals and is cost effective as well, a report by The IE noted. According to the report, the bee-fence is being erected under Project RE-HAB (Reducing Elephant – Human Attacks using Bees). In this process, the officials are currently placing boxes with bees in four locations near Chelur village, Kodagu, where some man-elephant conflicts have been seen in the past.
Citing a Khadi & Village Industries Commission (KVIC) official, the report noted that the project is primarily focused at reduction in human and elephant fatalities and the fence made of bee hives will prevent any harm. Vinai Kumar Saxena, KVIC Chairman highlighted that some scientific records show that elephants are frightened/ annoyed of honey bees and the collective buzz will lead elephants to turn back in the forests, rather than entering nearby villages. He added this solution provides a solution which is beneficial for all. It is also extremely cost-effective when it is compared widely-used techniques like erecting fences or digging trenches.
Apart from this, the project is notably a part of the National Honey Mission programme as well. As of now, 15 to 20 interspersed bee boxes have been placed at four locations. Several incidents have been reported earlier where elephants have entered human habitations. In some instances, elephants have also attacked farmers and other people in villages, leading to officials intervening for prevention of man-elephant conflicts. The officials are now planning to expand this project across various parts of the country, with Kodagu being the pilot, the report highlighted. The total cost projected for this initiative is around Rs 15 lakh.
As many as 2,500 people have been a victim of elephant attacks between 2015 and 2020 and they succumbed to it. In Karnataka alone, 170 of these cases have been reported. West Bengal reported 403 deaths whereas Odisha reported 397 such deaths in India. The officials said that 500 people die because of elephant attacks in the country and this is 10 times when compared to the fatalities caused by tigers/ big cats across India. In the last five years, around 500 elephants have also died as humans retaliated.