X

Africa’s Honey Fences – Using Beehives to Keep Elephants at Bay

Thanks to zoologist Dr Lucy King, farmers in rural Africa no longer need to worry about elephants wrecking their fields. Through ‘The Elephants and Bees Project’, she introduced the concept of honey fences – a low cost, organic solution that employs beehives suspended several meters apart to keep pachyderms away. The fences are essentially gifts that keep on giving, because the farmers are also able to make an additional income from the honey.

King first hit upon the idea after she read that elephants actually avoid acacia trees – their favorite food – if they spot a beehive in the branches. She then spent several years conducting behavioral experiments, like filming elephants reacting to the sound of bees buzzing played through a loudspeaker. Using the data she gathered, she began to develop the honey fence system – she suspended a series of hives at ten-meter intervals from a single wire, threaded around wooden fence posts. To get into the field an elephant would have to touch either the wire or the hive, disturbing the bees and causing them to swarm out in buzzing cloud.

honey-fences-Africa Read More »

Indian “Lady Tarzan” Talks to Elephants and They Listen

14-year-old Nirmala Toppo is the heroine of Rourkela, an industrial city located in the Indian state of Odisha, after she talked the elephants that had invaded the settlement into returning to the forest.

The Catholic girl from Jharkland claims she began talking to elephants after her mother was killed by some pachyderms. “I then decided to learn the techniques to drive them away”. The technique Nirmala refers to involves praying and literally talking to the elephants. “First I pray and then talk to the herd. They understand what I say”. By using these simple “tricks”, the girl helped the authorities of Rourkela deal with a herd of elephants that had settled in a residential area of the city. “When the herd entered the city, we tried our best to contain its movement. We managed to make the herd go into the local football stadium, but we were not sure how we could drive them back to the forest. It was a difficult task,” forest official P. K. Dhola said. Out of options and pressed for time, they remembered that there was someone who could help them. “We knew of a tribal girl who lived in Jharkhand, who talked to elephants and was able to drive them back. We called up her father and she arrived along with some other tribal people from her village”.

Nirmala-Toppo

Read More »

World’s Most Expensive Coffee Is Made from Elephant Dung

You probably didn’t know this, but the world’s most expensive coffee is pretty crappy, literally. Black Ivory coffee is made from beans eaten and digested by Thai elephants, and is priced at $1,100 per kilogram. Enjoy!

I knew elephants in Thailand were good at painting, but I didn’t know they also make great coffee. The rare Black Ivory blend is served at only four resorts around the world, three in the Maldives and one in Thailand. The people behind the exclusive Anantara Resorts came up with the unusual idea of making coffee from elephant-digested beans. As weird and disgusting as it sounds, their idea actually makes sense, in theory. According to research, enzymes in the elephant’s stomach break down the proteins in the coffee beans, and since proteins is one of the main factors of its bitterness, less protein means less of a bitter taste. The drink resulted from the elephant-refined beans is said to be floral and chocolaty, with the taste containing notes of ‘milk chocolate, nutty, earthy with hints of spice and red berries.’ 

Read More »

Only in Africa – Elephants Calmly Walk through Hotel Lobby

What would your reaction be if were to check into this hotel in Zambia and encountered this enormous and possibly dangerous African elephant in the lobby?

This is what happens when people get in the way between an elephant and his favorite snack and the owners of the luxurious Mfuwe Lodge in Zambia found this out on the hard way, when a family group of elephants simply walked through the hotel’s lobby to get to their mango tree.

Although they are wild animals, they seem to have gotten used to having people around them and have grown a special relation with everybody at the hotel.Interestingly enough, elephants get very close to the hotels staff but guests are advised not to get to close.

Building the hotel in their path was unintended, but the owner recognizes he had no idea that the elephants would return. This has been going on for several years and the group of elephants comes back every year around the month of November, eating their favorite fruits about four times a day.

The director of the Bushcamp Company, which that runs the Mfuwe Lodge, Andy Hogg, explains: “There are ten in that herd and it is only that herd that comes through. It is a strange thing. The matriarchal in the herd is Wonky Tusk, and she brings the nine others through and they come and go as they please.”

Read More »