Project RE-HAB (Reducing Elephant-Human Attacks using Bees):
Buoyed by the success of its innovative Project RE-HAB (Reducing Elephant-Human Attacks using Bees) in Karnataka, Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) has now replicated the project in Assam.
- Chairman KVIC, Shri Vinai Kumar Saxena launched Project RE-HAB at Village Mornoi in Goalpara district of Assam which severely grapples with elephant-human conflicts.
- The project has been implemented in Assam with the support of the local forest department.
- Surrounded by dense forests, a large part of Assam is infested by elephants with 332 human deaths reported between 2014 and 2019 due to elephant attacks.
- Under Project RE-HAB, “Bee-fences” are created by setting up bee boxes in the passage ways of elephants to block their entrance to human territories.
- The boxes are connected with a string so that when elephants attempt to pass through, a tug or pull causes the bees to swarm the elephant herds and dissuade them from progressing further.
- It is a cost-effective way of reducing human-wild conflicts without causing any harm to the animals. It is scientifically recorded that elephants are annoyed by the honey bees.
- Elephants also fear that the bee swarms can bite their sensitive inner side of the trunk and eyes. The collective buzz of the bees is annoying to elephants that force them to return.
- Notably, Project RE-HAB is a sub-mission of KVIC’s National Honey Mission.
- While the Honey Mission is a programme to increase the bee population, honey production and beekeepers’ income by setting up apiaries, Project RE-HAB uses bee boxes as a fence to prevent the elephant attacks.
- Project RE-HAB was launched at 11 locations in Kodagu district of Karnataka on 15th March 2021. In just 6 months, this project has reduced elephant attacks by over 70%.