Innovative Device Keeps Elephants Away By Making Bee Sounds

Environmentalists say they are “thrilled” by footage of an elephant withdrawing from munching on a tree after a gadget designed to scare them away starts making bee noises.

Developed by Martyn Griffiths, who heads the Wild Survivors charity, the BuzzBox is meant to keep the pachyderms – which are afraid of bees – away from communities without physically harming them.

Now a short video has emerged which shows how an elephant stops foraging a tree in Liberia after the BuzzBox comes on.

Dr Tina Vogt is the technical director of ELRECO, a local elephant research and conservation group.

Dr Vogt said: “We were absolutely thrilled when we saw the footage. The chance to get this kind of scene is probably one in a million. Not only was the elephant in the centre of the film, but it was daylight and the Buzz Box trigger worked perfectly.”

Dr Vogt – who called the bull’s immediate reaction “amazing” – underlined: “With human-elephant conflict so prevalent, it was so encouraging to see him race away from the farmland.”

Francesca Mahoney is the founder and director of Wild Survivors. She pointed out that the welfare of communities was “at the heart” of her NGO’s mission.

Jane Wynyard, the head of communications at Kenyan charity Save the Elephants, praised the clip as a “one-in-a-million footage.”

Photo shows a wild forest elephant in a remote Liberian forest, undated. It reacted to an acoustic elephant deterrent called a Buzz Box. (SAVE THE ELEPHANTS, NewsX/Bee)

Jane said: “The crystal-clear camera trap footage is significant as forest elephants are elusive and rarely seen in the wild, especially during the day.”

She explained: “This is the first time BuzzBoxes have been trialled on forest elephants.”

Jane emphasised that the tuskers’ lives were at risk due to human-elephant conflicts (HEC) and continuing habitat loss.

She added: “The elephant’s behaviour provides evidence that BuzzBoxes are effective in keeping both forest and savannah elephants safely outside of farms.”

According to Jane, the devices had the potential to become a “valuable mitigation tool” in HEC hotspots all over Africa.

Save the Elephant reports that elephants have come into conflict with humans especially since their population started to recover.

The NGO stressed that the animals were reclassified as ‘critically endangered’ two years ago. It claimed that the current population of elephants in the wild forests of Central and West Africa ranged around 150,000.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *