Thanks to funding from British Airways the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust have erected beehive fencing along communities lands close to their field HQ.
The purpose of the fences is to reduce human wildlife conflict by keeping elephants off community farm land and enable farmers to focus on tending their crops.
Researcher Dr Lucy King helped develop the beehive fence concept which works as elephants are afraid of the sound of bees.
Beehive fences are simple and cheap, made with no cement and using only locally sourced materials. Hives, or dummy hives, are hung every ten meters and linked together in a specific formation so that should an elephant touch one of the hives, or interconnecting wire, the beehives all along the fence line will swing and release the bees.
They were field tested in three rural farming communities in Kenya and achieved a success rate of over 80%. Any type of beehive can be used although the field tests used Kenyan Top Bar Hives and Langstroth Hives as they swing efficiently in the Beehive Fence and provide optimum honey yields for the farmers.
This new initiative is very welcome as it enables local people to earn an income whilst ensuring wild elephants are not targeted as pests.