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In South Africa, bees stop elephants from trampling trees

AP
Published : Dec 25, 2017, 3:42 pm IST
Updated : Dec 25, 2017, 3:45 pm IST

The humble bee is helping to keep elephants from destroying trees and wiping out crops in their quest for food.

The animals will try to avoid a bee sting whenever possible, experts say.
 The animals will try to avoid a bee sting whenever possible, experts say.

The humble bee is helping to keep elephants from destroying trees and wiping out crops in their quest for food.

A project launched near South Africa’s Kruger National Park in 2015 has found success. An elephant’s skin is thick but sensitive. The animals will try to avoid a bee sting whenever possible, experts say.

“They’re terrified of it coming up the trunk and then they could potentially suffocate,” says Jess Wilmot, a field researcher with the organization Elephants Alive.

Project founder Michelle Henley says beehives have proven to be “significantly effective” at protecting indigenous trees from being trampled.

“It’s amazing how a creature so small can actually scare away an elephant,” beekeeper Mark Collins says. Now the project is upgrading the beehives — and using them to explore commercial honey production.

Tags: elephant, bee, science