BEEHIVE FENCING INITIATIVE
Beehive fencing is a concept derived from the innovative study and experiment conducted by Dr Lucy King in Kenya which proved that elephants have an instinctive avoidance of African honey bees. This implied that bees could be utilized as a natural elephant deterrent, and could therefore provide a solution to human elephant conflict issues. Over the years, we have been able to validate this theory with the first 400 metre beehive fence established in Gazini in 2016. Since the inception of beehive fence, the community has not experienced elephant invasions directly through the erected fence.
The direct beneficiaries of this intervention is Sekelekani Cooperative, consisting of about 14 members from the Gazini community. Due to the fact that bee keeping is a seasonal agricultural activity, we have been able to support the cooperative with a horticultural intervention, which sees them grow various crops for both the market and personal consumption. The horticultural interventions offer a financial cushion during months of low honey production. During the 2019/2020 season, the cooperative sold over 60 bags of butternut to the local SPAR. In addition, they managed to harvest and sell at a profit, over 200kg of raw honey from the 50 beehives they set up in 2018. The plan for 2020 is to set up a beehive fence around the cooperative’s agricultural plot to deter elephants from raiding their crops. Through this intervention, ERP has been able to prove that wildlife and humans can live symbiotically within the same ecosystem, bringing to life our mission to conserve elephants and rhinos through the alleviation of poverty