Elephants are afraid of bees

Published on African Politics Portal, by Codrin Arsene, May 06, 2010.

Lucy King, a scientist and researcher into animal behavior has recently published a paper in which she presents her findings with respect to a series of experiments she conducted in Africa. Basically, she argues that elephants are really afraid of bees. Of course, one would immediately ask: how could this help Africa or be of any use to everyday Africans?

As it turns out, this discovery might have profound implications for people living in parts of Africa where elephants are a constant presence (South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Tanzania and Kenya, among others). Violent encounters between Africans and elephants happen frequently as elephants invade crops and plantations across Africa. In addition, elephants cause property damage and even life losses on some occasion.

To this recurring problem some policy-makers suggested electric fences as a measure to stop these elephant invasions but, as many of us know, people simply cannot afford this technology. As it turns out, Mrs. Lucy King’s discovery means that instead of electric fences now policymakers might suggest bee fences which are clearly less costly and more efficient. All you need is a bunch of hives placed strategically in different key areas of your property, on top of some strong poles, and link them through some sort of a wire. If elephants come near by, this would disturb the bees which would then attack and elephants … (full text).

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