Our Elephants, Bees, Trees & People Project continually grows from strength to strength. We have harvested three batches of “elephant-friendly honey” already this year – bottling nearly 65 litres, all of which is now sold out!
- Elephant-friendly honey
The honey has proved hugely popular with customers in both Hoedspruit and Johannesburg, selling out every time at the local Farmers Market, with a waiting list from local lodges. Every harvest produces a different tasting honey, depending on what flowers the bees are feeding on at that time. We are also producing Elephants Alive lip balm made from beeswax. Our final harvest took place mid-March, with the bees now being given a break with the approaching winter, so they can feed on their remaining honey supplies. At our study site on Jejane, we are also pleased that an additional nine wild swarms have reoccupied hives which we cleaned in December 2018 and we will be looking after these bees over the upcoming dry season.
- Elephants Alive’s Bee Project on TV
Our Bees & trees programme has recently featured on both South Africa’s 50:50 show and Germany’s public broadcaster, DWS. Both programmes show our work using honeybees as a deterrent method for African elephant impacts on iconic marula trees. View here.
- Using Bee Hives to Protect Trees – update
At the end of last year, we re-assessed all of the trees in our study site on Jejane Private Nature Reserve (JPNR) – where we are recording elephant impact on 150 marula trees. Of these trees, 50 have beehives, 50 are wire-netted, and 50 are left as controls. 80% of the control trees have been impacted in the study’s 3-year duration, versus 52% of the wire-netted trees. We are pleased that only 8% of the beehive trees have received any form of elephant impact since November 2015. We are very excited to see how the beehives are continuing to deter elephants from selected marula trees, and look forward to seeing how this research progresses over the next year.
- Beekeeping Manual
With so many enquiries and requests, we have produced a Bee Keeping Manual, free to download. If you are interested in finding out more about using bees to protect key, iconic trees see link.
- Next steps – community bee gardens.
The next development in our beekeeping and honey production programme is with four key local communities, as identified in consultation with the Kruger2Canyon Biosphere. This project will help provide alternative livelihoods, increase food security and develop enduring economic improvement for the impoverished rural communities, which form part of the Greater Kruger Area. Fostering positive relationships with communities close to Protected Areas are key to calling for tolerance relating to potential human-elephant conflict and the protection of natural resources.