Thiruvananthapuram: After solar fences and trenches, Kerala Forest Department is experimenting with beehives to deter wild elephants from straying into farms in human settlements close to forests.
The Kerala Forest Research Institute has erected a beehive fence on an experimental basis in a selected location in the wake of increasing man-animal conflicts and wide crop damage caused by straying jumbos in many parts of the state.
According to KFRI sources, the eco-friendly technique has been successfully implemented in many places, especially in Kenya, to keep elephants away.
A KFRI scientist said many studies have proved that the hissing sound of bees would frighten jumbos.
"First of all, it is a completely eco-friendly technique and so cause no harm to elephants. It is widely in practice in many foreign countries especially in Kenya," Dr E A Jayson, Wildlife Biology scientist of KFRI, told PTI.
As part of the experiment, KFRI personnel recently set up a beehive fence at Mailampara in Nilambur forest region, one of the many places where straying jumbos cause havoc.
A total of 18 beehives had been installed in a forest-fringe path there, he said.
"We first fixed a number of wooden sticks along the path. Then connected them together using metal wires on which the beehives are installed. The bees were procured from local apiculturists," he said.
Raid by animals, especially jumbos, to ravish on the crops of small-holders is a serious problem in forest-fringe hamlets in the state.