Elephants can degrade an ecosystem. They feed on and trample trees which can make a habitat less suitable. How can the Marula and other trees be protected from large Elephants? Elephants are wary of African honey bees and avoid tangling with the bees. Can bees be used to protect trees?
This is the thesis of the Elephant and Bees project in Southern Africa. Trees to be protected are surrounded by strategically placed hives containing African bees. The bees provide pollination services for nearby crops and are a source of honey. The concept has worked successfully in several demonstrations and is currently being expanded. The project has attracted funding from wealthy donors and groups concerned with preservation of elephants.