All creatures great and small: the elephants and the bees

Elephants fear bees – and this fear can save their lives. A bee’s stinger cannot penetrate an elephant’s thick hide but if a swarm of bees gets the better of an elephant by stinging its trunk, mouth or eyes (its’ more sensitive areas), the elephant can be hurt.  As a defence mechanism, an elephant will flap its ears, stir up dust and make noises to fend off the bees.

The buzzing of bees and the threat that these little insects pose for their larger neighbours lead conservationists to develop a beehive fence design as a mechanism to prevent crop damage and thereby reduce the human threat to these endangered animals.  By stringing beehives every 20 meters — alternating with fake hives — a team of researchers (based in Africa) has shown that they can keep 80% of elephants away from farmland.

Save the Elephants is a non-profit conservationist group based in Kenya who through their Elephant and Bees Project are bringing about real change – read more about this here.

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