FebBlog 02sElephants Alive is using its innovative conservation approach to keep bees in trees, elephants safe and making sure that local communities get to benefit from honey production efforts. 

 

 

 

 

 

FebBlog 03
Help Elephants Alive grow their bees in trees project to protect trees and elephants and build local communities.
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Finding new ways to protect big trees from elephant damage, Elephants Alive is taking its beehive project to new heights.  By suspending beehives in the branches of iconic African trees such as marula trees, the Hoedspruit-based organisation is helping with conservation efforts, while reducing human-elephant conflict. 

Elephants can cause a lot of damage to many large tree species, as elephants often strip bark off their trunks and affect tree survival rates. Since 2004, Elephants Alive has been studying the impact of this damage, monitoring over 3000 trees – including those with chicken-wire wrapped around the trunk, and those with beehives suspended from their branches. 


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And four years of research has revealed that the beehive project is an overwhelming success with only 8% of trees with hives being affected (vs 82% of trees with no protection and 52% with wire netting).

Elephants Alive is now producing ‘elephant friendly’ organic honey and beeswax products (including lip-balm and wax food-wraps to reduce plastic waste).  These products sell out as fast as the team can produce them - with a waiting list from the local farmers market and safari lodges. 

The next stage of this exciting project is to develop beekeeping and honey production micro-businesses in three impoverished communities in the Greater Kruger Area.  This will help provide alternative livelihoods, increase food security and develop enduring economic improvement for these communities.  Fostering positive relationships with communities close to Protected Areas is key to calling for tolerance relating to potential human-elephant conflict and the protection of this country’s natural resources.