Learning the ropes with the aim to reduce HEC in Gorgongosa NP
Report from visiting Researcher, Paola Branco
Hello, I am Paola Branco, currently a researcher working on ideas to promote coexistence between elephants and local community at Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique. I spent almost a month at the Elephants and Bees Research center learning about beehive fences with Dr. Lucy King and the incredible team of project staff and international and Kenyan students.
I had no previous knowledge on beekeeping, nor how to use bees to mitigate human-elephant conflicts, this opportunity taught me a lot more than just that. My time with Save the Elephants brought many new insights to my research, and now I want to adapt them to apply in Mozambique, to increase protection to a vulnerable elephant population. The activities involved mornings of tracking crop-raiding elephants, maintenance of hives, conversations with local farmers, and nights discussing elephant’s issues or checking beehives for honey. During my internship, we also worked with the Tsavo Trust organization to build a brand-new beehive fence, which was an incredible experience and invaluable to me for when I go to Mozambique to build my own beehive fences.
I am very thankful for the opportunity and for all the networking I have been building with this wonderful elephant community. With the critical situation of wild elephants, working as a team is crucial, and Dr. Lucy King and Dr. Iain Douglas-Hamilton are both incredible mentors.