regular-article-logo Monday, 05 June 2023

Odisha govt to install beehive boxes to ward off elephants

Move aims to bring down cases of human-animal conflict during the upcoming rabi season

Subhashish Mohanty Bhubaneswar Published 27.09.21, 12:44 AM

File picture

The Odisha government has decided to install wooden beehive boxes in select forest divisions of the state to keep elephants away from human habitations in a bid to bring down cases of human-animal conflict during the upcoming rabi season.

“Engaging honey bees to ward off elephants has been successful in South Africa, Assam, Uttarakhand and Karnataka. We have planned to implement this in Odisha’s selective forest divisions on a pilot basis,” principal chief conservator of forests (PCCF) Shashi Paul told The Telegraph.


The project has been named RE-HAB (Reducing Elephant-Human Attacks using Bees). With this the government is hopeful that the human habitations as well as the crops will be safe from jumbo attacks. Cases of animal and human conflict are generally noticed in between October and March.

According to the plan, the beehive boxes will be put up at several places known for the movement of elephants. “When a jumbo tries to cross the border and comes in touch with the wire connected to the beehive box, the door of the box will open. Angered at being disturbed, the army of honeybees will come out and attack the herd of elephants. Scared by the sudden attack, the elephants will run away and will not enter the human habitations and destroy the crops,” said Paul.

According to the plan, the state government will launch a pilot scheme in Athmallik-Keonjhar forest division. “Once the pilot project is successful, we will expand it to other areas where the jumbos are creating havoc,” said Paul.

The forest department will procure the beehive boxes from the Khadi and Village Industries Commission. “We have already held meetings with the people on the periphery of the forest division of Athmallik. We have received an overwhelming response,” officials said.

The forest department has also decided to monitor the movement of elephant herds through GPS-fitted radio collars. “We are taking the help of the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore, for this. The radio coordinates will help track the movement of the elephants. Survey work is on,” an official said.

The radio collars will be fitted in three elephants in Chandaka sanctuary and four in Similipal sanctuary. The radio collars will be fitted after tranquillising the elephants.

A government report says that at least 282 pachyderms have died due to human and animal conflict in the last three years. Similarly, 912 people have lost their lives in elephant attacks during the last 10 years.

The state government is also implementing the Gaja Sathi (Elephant Friend) Yojana by roping in members of Van Suraksha Samitis.

“At least five members of the Van Suraksha Samitis will be given an opportunity to work as Gaja Sathis with the department. The samiti will recommend the names. Each samiti will be given a monetary assistance of Rs 25,000 per annum. They will work in coordination with the forest department to ward off the elephants. They will be given crackers, lights and other equipment for this purpose,” said an official.

Follow us on: