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How Bees Are Saving Elephants on Railway Tracks

A device has been put by The Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) that increases the buzz of moving honeybees which is a natural nemesis of elephants. This experiment is working quite good and is conducted along the corridors near tracks which are surrounded by wild herds.

Honey Bee

Some wildlife officials said that despite their big size and thick skin, elephants are afraid of bees. It is so dreadful that these bees stung on the sensitive trunk of elephants and after this, a bee alarm with a slight of buzz going off in the elephant’s head.

In Kenya, to keep these jumbos away, boutique beehives are dangled from fences. However, in Rangiya Division of NFR’s which is around 65km northwest of Guwahati, engineers have invented an electronic device to keep animals at a bay called electronic buzzer. Some elephant experts have reported that the experiment of jumbo-repulsion techniques such as electric fence and chili bomb is not that much cost efficient and effective too.

Ravish Kumar, railway manager of Rangiya divisional, has stated that this device is based on a very simple principle that boosts the recorded sound of honeybees. These sounds are taken from the Internet. Before installing this device in railway division in the three notified elephant corridors, it was tested on wild elephants that too in jungles, and this was a joint decision of Rangiya divisional officials and forest officials.

This device is audible at around 600 meters of distance to elephants and has also accumulated a cost of Rs 2,000.

Two months ago, between Kamakhya and Azara railway stations near Guwahati at a level crossing, the first of this device expulsion technique was installed. The level crossing is a few meters away from one of the corridors where there are 27 elephants under NFR. This area covers parts of eastern Bihar besides the northeastern states.

Techniques like electric fences and chili bomb which are elephant-repulsion techniques have been used earlier, but the sound of that buzz is very much effective and cost-efficient.

Elephants hate this buzzing sound. This device has been very much beneficial as it has prevented animals from coming near to the tracks at least five times. There has also been the instruction to the employees that the device should only be used when elephants come near to the trains.

Image credit: Maciej Czyżewski, hosted at Wikipedia


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