Villages near ATR begin beekeeping to keep jumbos at bay

Bognor : People living in the periphery of Amangiri Tiger Reserve ( ATR ) have started apiculture or beekeeping in a big way to deter elephants of the park from straying into hu man settlements and check human – animal conflicts without harming the pachyderms .

There are around 200 elephants in ATR , and over 22 villages are located along the peripheral of ATR and Corbett Tiger Reserve . The majority of the farmers here grow sugarcane , which attracts jumbos into the fields .

Farmers , who have put around 700 beehive boxes in the periphery of their farms , believe that this would keep the elephants away .

Sunil Kumar , a farmer from Reharl , said , ” Elephants use tree branches to break the electric fences and come to our fields to eat our sugarcane crops . Since fencing is not an option , we have started beekeeping . A honey bee box costs around R 4,000 and there are few ex expenses to look after it . Farmers also earn thou sands of rupees from beekeeping .

Forest officials agreed that swarms of bees drive out elephants . Also , bee farming will bring additional income for the farmers . Simi lar tactics are being used in Naziabad diva scion of the district , which is close to the Rajaji National Park .

Gyan Singh , sub – divisional forest officer , said , ” The buzzing sound of bees is a big turn off for elephants , and this method has succeeded in some areas . We have also put 45 boxes in Mahonia and Pili dam areas . The government provides subsidies and loans for bee farming . ” Bognor’s former DFO , M Semarang , said beekeeping will prove to be a boon for farmers living in the periphery of forests , which provides a conducive environment for bees to extract honey .

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