An experiment was carried out at Lok Kawi Park with different forms of expertise present to study on elephant behaviour when they hear the sounds of buzzing bees. During the experiment, playbacks of bee buzzing sound recordings were played in order to test the hypothesis that elephants ‘know about’ the danger of bees and respond to their sound by increased alertness and possibly even running away. True enough, the elephants were seen moving away hurriedly.

Kinabatangan Bee Farming

The Need

As a result of development and logging, the forests along the nature-rich Kinabatangan River are facing a surmounting number of threats. Sukau, a village along the river is facing wildlife encroachment issues where elephants storm and raid local agriculture land destroying farmer’s crops by the acres. Chili fences were set up in August 2014, but have since failed to keep the elephants away.

Our Involvement

The ‘beehive fence’ approach to reduce damage from crop-raiding elephants using their instinctive avoidance of honey bees was introduced to the farmers. BEST worked in collaboration with government bodies such as Korporasi Pembangunan Desa Kudat, Jabatan Pertanian Tenom, Universiti Malaysia Sabah, veterinaries and NGOs to conduct research to see if beehive fence could work to reduce human elephant conflict and promote a practical and inexpensive ways to help people protect themselves and their crops.

The Impact

An experiment was carried out at Lok Kawi Park with different forms of expertise present to study on elephant behaviour when they hear the sounds of buzzing bees. During the experiment, playbacks of bee buzzing sound recordings were played in order to test the hypothesis that elephants ‘know about’ the danger of bees and respond to their sound by increased alertness and possibly even running away. True enough, the elephants were seen moving away hurriedly.

The beehive fence is a biological control measures that are cheap to construct as compared to electric fencing. We engaged 12 villagers who were facing the similar human-wildlife conflict and is currently carrying out the pilot project. If successful, elephants will be kept at bay and the honey produced by the bees can be harvested for sale. Villagers might begin to see beekeeping as a more sustainable approach and a financially viable alternative livelihood by producing a wide variety of value added honey products.

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Organic Vegetable Farming

Borneo Land Conservancy