Nepal Beehive Fences
Nepal has a long and rich history with its elephants mainly for religious purposes. Although most of the Asian elephants found here are domesticated some are wild and roam free. As with many other countries, unstable weather events and expanding human settlement have placed wildlife and humans at odds.
However, our beehive fences are making a positive impact in Nepal. Here they are being used to reduce human-elephant conflict as well as provide an alternative source of income for some of the communities affected through the harvesting of elephant-friendly honey.
The Nepal team is currently led by Roshan Kumar Thakur, a research officer at the Health and Environmental Management Society (HEMS) Nepal. He came to our Elephants and Bees Research Center for a month in 2017 and was trained on beehive fencing and beekeeping. With funding from the Rufford Small Grants for Nature Conservation and in partnership with Nepal Biodiversity Research and Conservation Center, the beehive fence project has been implemented in Ganesh Tole of Nijgadh Municipality of Bara district in Central Nepal. This area is frequently visited by elephants from Parsa National Park and has been a hotspot of human-elephant conflict. It was identified as the most suitable area to pilot the project from a previous geospatial study by Roshan Kumar Thaku.
The beehive fences have been installed in two places so far: one encompassing a farmer’s house and another surrounding the farmlands with an area of about 1.5 hectares, both being very prone to elephant raids annually.
The team first had a preliminary meeting with the farmers to show how the concept of beehive fencing worked. They conducted beekeeping training to the concerned farmers and then helped them to build the beehive fences. The farmers were also made familiar with other benefits of beekeeping. From the fifteen hives making up the beehive fence installed at the farm, the farmers have been able to harvest honey twice so far, collecting 45kgs of honey per harvest! The elephant-friendly honey was sold in the local market providing added income for the farmers.
The beehive fence, as an elephant deterrent to protect homes and farms, has had a positive result in Nepal. Out of two raids after the installation of the beehive fence, elephants were unsuccessful at entering the farms and accessing the home, where sacks of rice were previously raided. The community experienced regular crop raids in previous years but found hope in this eco-deterrent which was easily accepted with a great response.