Assam : KVIC Rolls-Out Unique ‘RE-HAB’ Project To Mitigate Human-Elephant Conflict

 

  • NET Web Desk

In an attempt to eliminate the escalating human-elephant conflict along the northeastern state of Assam, the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) has rolled-out Project RE-HAB (Reducing Elephant-Human Attacks using Bees) at Village Mornoi in Goalpara district of Assam.

Referred as a replication of the project initiated in Karnataka, RE-HAB has been launched by the KVIC Chairman Vinai Kumar Saxena.

Supported by the local forest department, this project has been implemented in Assam to mitigate human-elephant conflict.

According to PIB report, at least 332 human deaths have been reported between 2014 and 2019 due to elephant attacks.

Under this project, “Bee-fences” will be created by setting up bee-boxes in the passage of elephants to block their entry 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.” – added the report.

It is a cost-effective idea to reduce human-wildlife conflicts.

Scientifically recorded that elephants are annoyed by the honey bees, due to their bee swarms.

Elephants believe bees can bite their sensitive inner side of the trunk and eyes, thereby forcing them to return back.

A total of 330 interspersed bee boxes will be placed at Mornoi and Dahikata villages within a week.

These bee boxes have been distributed among 33 farmers and educated youth of these villages by KVIC whose families have affected by elephants.

Crop-raiding by elephants here is considered to be so severe that villagers, over the last few years, had stopped cultivating their farms fearing elephant attacks.

These villages have abundant production of paddy, litchi and jackfruit that attract elephants.

Besides, high resolution, night vision cameras have been installed at strategic points to record the impact of bees on elephants and their behaviour in these zones.