I hope this email finds you well. Sorry for the delay in hearing back from us, I have just come back from camp where we had a very busy couple of weeks with our partners from Disney. We have a decade long research partnership with their scientists from their Animal Behaviour department and Dr Joseph Soltis came out to help us implement a new project that we are working on using an audio recording of bee sounds to see if this will temporarily deter elephants from approaching a newly built (and hence empty) beehive fence. The bee audio system (we still need a good name for it!) has a sensor to trigger it if an elephant comes close but also has a manual switch that the farmer can press if they see elephants approaching their farm. It lets off a VERY loud angry bee sound so we are hopeful that this will be enough to prevent elephants from breaking a freshly built beehive fence. This concept isn’t to be used instead of bees but the idea is to place it around newly built farms so that there is something to prevent elephants from crop raiding whilst they wait for bees to occupy the hives.
Whilst we were with Disney and the E&B team of students and local staff we were able to build the beehive fence with your kind donation.
The 300m beehive fence (consisting of 15 beehives and 14 dummy hives) went to the farmer, Leonard who tragically had part of his house knocked down and raided by hungry elephants in March. We had a fantastic few days building the fence around 1.25 acres of his farm with the help of Leonard and his family – it was a great team effort. I have attached some photos to share with you of your fence, Leonard and his family are over the moon with it and are looking forward to feeling more secure behind their elephant deterrent fence.
We decided to put the new audio bee system at his farm, to provide immediate protection from elephants as the lack of rain and crops in the area means we are not convinced we will get any new bee occupations immediately. This is an exciting concept for Leonard, and our team are still fiddling around with the system as there are a few teething problems with the solar battery charger but we are hopeful that it should be finished and operating fully soon.
I am sharing our intern Lorna’s blog which describes the audio bee system and building your beehive fence http://elephantsandbees.com/deterring-elephants-with-the-sound-of-bees/ . We will keep you updated with Leonard’s progress and we thank you on behalf of him and his family for their life changing gift. I hope you can come and visit him and us in Tsavo one day!
With best wishes,
Dr Lucy King, MSc, DPhil.
Head of Human-Elephant Co-Existence Program
Elephants and Bees Project Leader
Save the Elephants
P.O. Box 54667, Nairobi 00200, Kenya
Email 1: email@example.com
Research Associate, Department of Zoology
University of Oxford, UK
Email 2: firstname.lastname@example.org
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/ElephantsandBees