Thailand Beehive Fences
Phu Luang Wildlife Sanctuary in north east Thailand is home to about 100 wild Asian elephants, the sanctuary was established due to pressure on the reserve from agricultural farm land encroachment and the need to conserve wildlife habitat. Having downloaded our Beehive Fence Construction Manual, beehive fences have now been tried in the areas surrounding Phu Luang Wildlife Sanctuary with the aim of protecting the farms and reducing human-elephant conflict, where elephants are leaving the forest and crop raiding the neighbouring maize and rice fields. The local people have been faced with elephant conflict for many years, and during this time have struggled to prevent elephants from crop raiding with little success, up until now.
The farmers have reported their relief and joy of having the beehive fences surrounding their farms, they are enjoying greater crop yields and the added bonus of selling their honey. The beehive fence project is being executed by the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation to six villages in the area and has a 74% success rate, far better than that of previous measures such as electric fences and the use of fire crackers. There has also been an increase in elephant populations in the area from 50 in 1998, to 97 today. The project is now producing ‘Elephant friendly honey’.
Success from the primary project, has allowed Rachaya Arkajak and the team of staff at Phu Luang Wildlife research station to develop an additional project site at Pawa sub district,Kanghangmeaw district ,Chantaburi province Thailand in Khao Sip-ha-chan national park. The farmers in this area are being crop raided by about 80 elephants who wander out of the Khoa Siphachun National park to the neighbouring villages causing havoc amongst farmers and their crops. Two beehive fences are in the process of being constructed in order to mitigate human elephant conflict in the area.
Bring the Elephant Home (BTEH) organised an educational tour to the pre-existing beehive fence project at Phu Luang Wildlife Reseach Station, to promote interest in using the beehive fence as a method to reduce human elephant conflict in areas that are highly trafficked by elephants. The trip gave the opportunity for 40 local community people, park rangers, NGO staff and scientists from Kanchanaburi to learn about using beehive fences as a sustainable and cost effective measure to protect farms, that works with nature to provide a solution to the ongoing concern of crop raiding elephants.
The trip inspired the participants and they returned home full of enthusiasm and positivity about the idea. The knowledge gained from this capacity building tour was then incorporated into a short-term project proposals to enable the local community to cohabit in harmony with the elephants from Kanchanaburi.
BTEH conducted a survey amongst 46 plantation owners located in HEC prevalent areas in Kanchanaburi, found that:
Bring the Elephants Home has built an example beehive fence at the education center in Kanchanburi, and are focusing on fundraising in order to provide beehives to the villages surrounding Kanchanburi. The aim is to create a support system to help other groups implementing this method. To support this project click here.