My chronicles at the Elephants and Bees Project

Report from Kenyan Intern, Lilian Sailepu

My chronicles at the Elephants and Bees Project: Part 1

One week is over since I joined the Elephants and Bees Research Center! Yeah time slips away, I am very happy here since am in the right road map to achieve my goals, I have always focused on how to build a peaceful coexistence between humans and wildlife by providing and coming up with up to date measures and strategies for mitigating human wildlife conflicts using scientific research, participatory, innovative and cooperative approaches in order to scale up peaceful coexistence in the affected communities, I would now say I found my niche since this is all what happens at Elephants and Bees, I mean this is a life time opportunity for any wildlife scientist, thankyou Dr. Lucy for making this happen.

My week started with me getting to learn about the camera traps, and honestly of all activies I have been involved in, this has stolen my heart. Why? Because camera traps are upping the game of Human Elephant Conflict mitigation, they do give incredible and useful images that I figured out they will help a researcher identify new species or gain information about how wild animals use their habitats, I mean all without a sweat!! so I spent time time with Mikki and she’s trained me on how to put up camera traps and how to set them up plus she’s also given me tuitorials on identifying animals caught on camera. We have also set some of the cameras (at Charity’s, Silas, Granton’s and Nashon’s farms) to video, and am thinking this videos in future would be used to raise awareness through you tube, the internet and social networking sites and people would embrace this strategy of using bees as a natural deterrent for crop raiding elephants, it would also be an important part of campaigns to save threatened and endangered species.

I also joined Matthew and Augustine in monitoring the beehive fence and the hives, very exciting activity having bees buzz around us without stinging!!  Thanks to anyone who invented bee suits. I am really looking forward to harvesting time I know it will be more fun. The farmers are very accommodating and cooperative too.

Lilian with beehive in Center (s)

In conclusion this mitigation strategy of using Beehive fence, from my point of view though, is the most effective and efficient method so far, of deterring elephants from crop raiding farms. Its benefit is double fold apart from being a mitigation method, people also get to see the importance of bees and harvest “Elephant-Friendly Honey”, that they sell and get income, this is very important to them keeping in mind this is a poverty stricken community. I think this is what we need inorder to build peaceful co-existence between humans and elephants in other Human Elephant Conflict prone areas.

That is my week one at Elephants and Bees! Looking forward to week two.

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