Mozambique Beehive Fences
In December 2012, Dr Lucy King visited the 42,000km² Niassa National Reserve, northern Mozambique, to provide technical Beehive Fence advice and practical training to Mbumba Mafuro, a Mozambican MSc student beginning a human-elephant conflict mitigation study. With support from Drs Colleen and Keith Begg on the Niassa Lion Project (NLP), Mbumba explored ways to assist the local community living within the protected area to reduce their intense conflict with elephants and improve livelihoods by generating an alternative source of food and income through beekeeping.
In line with NLP’s policy, no wire was used constructing the beehive fences in Niassa to make sure that no snares could be made from any of the beehive fence materials. Instead we adapted the design by using strips of old rubber tyres and baobab rope to hang the hives. The fences have had success against crop-raiding elephants and the first 7.5 kgs of Mozambican Elephant-Friendly Honey was produced in June 2013 giving a huge moral boost the project and farmers.
Mbamba Village in Niassa, Mozambique
In 2017 the project established a second beehive fence trial site in Mozambique within the buffer zone of Gorongosa National Park. Brazilian Master’s student Paola Branco trained with Elephants and Bees as well as PAMS Foundation Tanzania to test different deterrent methods including the use of chillies. Engagement with members of the community so far has revealed perceptions of their effectiveness, including the “spicy beehive fence”.