Coimbatore

Honeybee army to keep wild elephants from human habitations

Forest Department will train 200 families to keep a total of 2,000 beehive boxes along forest boundaries in Coimbatore forest division.

Forest Department will train 200 families to keep a total of 2,000 beehive boxes along forest boundaries in Coimbatore forest division.   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

Villagers along forest boundary being trained in apiary, provided with beehive boxes

After experimenting various measures to tackle the straying of elephants into human habitations, the Coimbatore Forest Division is all set to introduce colonies of honeybee to tackle the problem.

Soon, the forest division will have a chain of about 2,000 beehives installed along forest boundaries in all the seven forest ranges, the buzz from which will act as a natural elephant deterrent, a method used in many foreign countries.

As part of launching the initiative, the Forest Department is providing training in apiary to 200 families in villages along the forest boundary, who will maintain the beehive boxes. The Department will give each family 10 such boxes free of cost, each to be placed at distance of 10 feet. The Department will use colonies of an Indian honey bee variety in the boxes.

According to Forest Department sources, beehive boxes will be introduced first at places like Chadivayal. Singapathi and Vellapathi coming under Pooluvapatti forest range.

As many as 30 families who have already completed training will take care of these boxes.

District Forest Officer D. Venkatesh said training in other ranges and other preparatory works were under way, and would be completed soon.

The beehives will be placed in areas along forest boundaries where elephant proof trenches had not been dug or were not effective.

Though the 693 sq.km. forest division has 250 km of trenches, these do not form a continuous barrier. According to a study by environmental NGO Osai, there was no elephant proof trench for a continuous stretch of six km anywhere in the Coimbatore forest division

The continuity was disrupted due to practical difficulties in digging rocky terrain and slopes.

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Printable version | Jul 7, 2020 3:11:51 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Coimbatore/honeybee-army-to-keep-wild-elephants-from-human-habitations/article30925776.ece

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