In a first, Kodagu launches project to reduce human-elephant conflict by using honey bees
The project has been launched for the first time in the country on an experimental basis by the Khadi and Village Industries Commission with support from the management of Ponnampet Forestry College.
MADIKERI: A research project to reduce human-elephant conflict with the help of honey bees was inaugurated at Ponnampet Forestry College in Kodagu on Monday. The project has been launched for the first time in the country on an experimental basis by the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) with support from the college management.
RE-HAB -- Reducing Elephant Human Attack by using Bees -- aims at controlling wild elephant movement into villages by roping in honey bees. The success of the initiative will be monitored regularly to launch it across the country. A total of three elephant conflict places have been chosen in Kodagu district including two at Nagarahole Sanctuary and one at Thora village in Virajpet where a total of ten beehive boxes have been placed across the forest fringe. The boxes have been placed approximately at eight feet distance and tied using a fence rope. This set-up will act as an elephant conflict mitigation measure.
The project was launched by KVIC Chairman Vinay Kumar Saxena at Ponnampet Forestry College. “In 2017, the Sweet Revolution was launched in the nation to promote apiculture. Beekeeping has many benefits and a farmer can earn from the bee wax, royal jelly and bee venom apart from the honey extraction. Further, beekeeping enables cross pollination and increases the income of a farmer by 30%,” he said.
Saxena explained that states with high elephant populations are spending crores on solving the human-elephant conflict and added, “Many of the mitigation methods to control the conflict are unscientific. The research project of RE-HAB will be monitored regularly and, if successful, will be implemented across the country.”
He said that the RE-HAB project will create a sustainable employment opportunity in beekeeping while also fighting the elephant conflict ecologically. Dr Kushalappa, the dean of the Forestry College, reckoned that the project will enable integrated farming while controlling the elephant menace.
Alongside launching the project, a total of 50 beneficiaries were given bee colonies and beekeeping equipment by KVIC to promote apiculture in the district. Dr Sudarshan of KVIC said, “We are finding a physical solution to an ecological problem. Nature must work with nature and the RE-HAB will work at a low cost.”