Feeds

Boffin's wall of BEES shields farms from stampeding elephants

Biologist earns gong after beasts buzz off

Top three mobile application threats

A British researcher who studied elephants' fear of being stung by bees has been given a gong for developing a fence of beehives to reduce clashes between humans and the mighty mammals.

Dr Lucy King's invention stops the giant animals from wandering onto farm land and causing havoc because they are so terrified of swarms of the tiny insects.

The biologist - who carried out her work in Kenya - was presented the international research prize of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals at a United Nations ceremony in Bergen, Norway yesterday.

"I congratulate Dr King as the winner of this important award. Her research underlines how working with, rather than against, nature can provide humanity with many of the solutions to the challenges countries and communities face," said UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP (UN Environment Programme) executive director Achim Steiner.

"Dr King's work spotlights an intelligent solution to an age-old challenge while providing further confirmation of the importance of bees to people and a really clever way of conserving the world's largest land animal for current and future generations."

British biologist, Dr Lucy E King and an elephant

Dr Lucy King

"By reducing conflicts between people and elephants, Dr Lucy King has designed a constructive solution that considers the needs of migratory animals but also the economic benefits to the local communities linked to species conservation," said Convetion on Migratory Species executive secretary Elizabeth Maruma Mrema.

King's research zeroed in on the African Savannah elephant's terrified response to tiny honey bees. In 2002 it was noted that African honeybees were a deterrent to elephants because the mammals refused to feed on acacia trees hosting beehives for fear of being stung.

The study sombrely added the well-known fact that ELEPHANTS NEVER FORGET.

That experiment, which used the digital playback of bee sounds, revealed that elephants would alert their fellow four-legged stomping friends about a possible attack, which often meant they would wander onto a farmer's land.

King developed the beehive fence as a device to prevent migrating elephants from entering agricultural areas.

She undertook a two-year pilot project that started in 2008 and involved testing her beehive fence method on 17 farms in Kenya. The researcher also covered 17 other farms with traditional thorn bush barriers.

"Elephants pushing against the wire connecting the different beehives would shake them unpredictably and disturb the bees. The beehive fences were built with one beehive every 10 meters and an elephant attempting to enter a farm would instinctively try to bypass the beehives," the UNEP said.

"The beehive fence was successfully adopted by farming communities in three different districts, and by three different tribes in Kenya. Ninety different raids, or attempted raids, by elephants were monitored, during which only six incidents, or seven per cent, of elephants crossing the beehive fences were recorded."

King concluded from her study that such crop-damaging raids on agricultural land could be greatly reduced for farmers who adopted her beehive fence creation. ®

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
Red-faced LOHAN team 'fesses up in blown SPEARS fuse fiasco
Standing in the corner, big pointy 'D' hats
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
Opportunity selfie: Martian winds have given the spunky ol' rover a spring cleaning
Power levels up 70 per cent as the rover keeps on truckin'
KILLER ROBOTS, DNA TAMPERING and PEEPING CYBORGS: the future looks bright!
Americans optimistic about technology despite being afraid of EVERYTHING
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
Fancy joining Reg hack on quid-a-day challenge?
Recruiting now for charity starvation diet
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.