Coimbatore

A plan ‘bee’ for wild elephants

To avert human-elephant conflict, the Forests Department in Coimbatore Division has decided to use what the elephants dread: the buzz of the honey bee. The much-awaited drone to be inducted by the department will emit the buzz of the bee to ward off wild elephants. Officials with Forest Department here said the device is expected to be delivered soon.

The buzz of the honey bee had proven a natural mitigation measure to ward off wild elephants entering human habitations. Placing of bee hives on farm borders was found to be effective in African countries. The beehive strategy is also adopted by farmers in Gudalur and Wayanad.

Elephants dread the sting of the bee too. Coimbatore-based Sugarcane Breeding Institute distributed nearly 100 beehives to villagers near Anaikatti as part of its tribal outreach programme earlier this year

Therefore, the bee effect has inspired the move to have a drone emitting the buzz, according to D. Venkatesh, District Forest Officer, Coimbatore.

The drone will also have a light-weight camera attached to it. The drone will be used for monitoring areas prone to human-animal conflict, movement of wild elephants into farm lands and injured animals, and to detect anti-poaching activities and forest fire. The device can be operated with a remote control device and a smart phone/tablet. This will also help forest staff to get visuals of places that are difficult to access in the forest.

Other than Coimbatore, the Forest Department plans to use drones for similar measures in Kodaikanal, Tirunelveli, Hosur and Gudalur.

Apart from the buzzing sound of bees, sting by disturbed bees also chases wild elephants away. .

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Printable version | May 8, 2021 9:14:25 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Coimbatore/a-plan-bee-for-wild-elephants/article24203158.ece

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