Project RE-HAB (Reducing Elephant - Human Attacks using Bees) launched by Khadi and Village Industries Commission’s (KVIC) last month, at four locations on the periphery of Nagarhole National Park in Kodagu district of Karnataka, was hailed by Union Minister Nitin Gadkari.
Gadkari said the project has yielded very encouraging results in preventing elephants’ movement into human territories in Kodagu.
He said Project RE-HAB has huge potential and it will soon be replicated in all states, affected by elephant attacks like West Bengal, Jharkhand, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Assam, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
KVIC is planning to implement Project RE-HAB in a phased manner in many states affected by elephant - human conflicts. Approximately 2,400 people have been killed in conflicts with wild elephants across the country since 2015.
Project RE-HAB is a unique, cost-effective way of preventing elephant – human conflicts without causing any harm to both, the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises said in a statement.
Under this project, bee boxes are used as a fence to prevent elephants from entering human habitation, thus reducing loss of lives and property.
Elephants fear that the honey bees might sting them in their eyes and inner side of the trunk. Also, the buzz of bees irritates elephants the most.
Bee fences have reduced the movement of elephants at these points to a great extent. Night vision cameras installed at these locations have captured amazing footage of elephants’ behaviour on seeing bee boxes.
A number of elephants are seen returning to the jungles fearing honey bees. Also, no destruction of crops or property by elephants has been reported in these areas since the bee boxes have been placed on the passageways of elephants.
KVIC is set to replicate the project in other states, too, where a large tribal and rural population is living under the constant threat of wild elephants.
Project RE-HAB will have multi-pronged benefits like reducing human-elephant conflicts, increasing farmers’ income through beekeeping, addressing climate change and regenerating forest cover.
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