Human-elephant conflict resolutions in Kekana Gardens and Gazini

In light of the on-going human elephant conflict that has over the years threatened the existence and protection of elephants in the wild, we have deployed beehive fences in order to naturally deter elephants from invading human inhabited spaces. Due to the fact that it has been scientifically proven that elephants in their might and grace are afraid of bees, carefully placing beehives and creating beehive fences along areas where elephants break man-made fences


Why  and how ERP (plan of action)

Providing a line of beehive fencing between Kwazulu-Natal and Mozambique has to date successfully prevented elephants crossing into the Gazini community in Kwazulu-Natal. At the same time beehives have provided an on-going income to the subsistence farmers in Gazini and this has encouraged us to expand the project into a wider area in the future. We have also started working on the beehive fencing in Dinokeng Game Reserve.


Gazini

The first phase of this project was piloted in Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa, with funding from SAP, USA. It is located on the border with Mozambique and South Africa, where elephants were crossing over from Mozambique into South Africa invading local subsistence farmers’ plots and causing property and crop damage. This resulted in the elephants being threatened to be killed by the local authorities in an effort to protect the villagers and their properties.  The installation of the Beehive Fence, has, to date, deterred elephants from crossing over from Mozambique, while simultaneously creating jobs and an income for the local subsistence farmers, through the production of honey.  This solution to human/elephant conflict is an example of ERP’s principles – conserving and protecting elephants and rhinos in the wild, through the alleviation of poverty.   The group of 9 beneficiaries got registered into a cooperative, Sekelekani Cooperative, and are now a formal business entity. Their honey production increased at each harvesting interval, with most of the honey being harvested from the beehive fence. ERP is now looking towards supplementing their income through enabling the cooperative to commercially farm vegetables under a 2 hactare plot since honey is not produced throughout the year


Dinokeng Game Reserve

ERP registered a cooperative of 12 youth from Kekana Gardens who have formed the core group of our beehive fencing initiatives in Dinokeng Game Reserve. In 2017, the group started had their theoretical training in bee keeping in preparation for the practical training where they would not only construct beehives, but also put them up along the beehive fence.  The goal is to put an end to elephants breaking fences within the game reserve. The provincial government also came on board and appointed consultants to work together with ERP in working on a business plan for the group. In 2018, the project has already gained traction as the group have now erected the beehives within the reserve, and are now also working within the community, offering their services in removing bees within households in Kekana Gardens.


Conclusion

This intervention typically describes the ERP mission of Conserving elephants and rhinos through the alleviation of poverty, and in 2018, we will continue scaling it up in communities where conflict exists between humans and elephants.

Christelle Pretorius