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A British scientist has won a coveted environment research prize for showing how bees can be used to reduce conflict between people and elephants. Lucy King's work proved that beehive "fences" can keep elephants out of African farmers' fields or compounds. The animals are scared of bees, which can sting them inside their trunks, and flee when they hear buzzing. Dr King received the Unep/CMS Thesis Prize at the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) meeting in Norway.
"Her research underlines how working with, rather than against, nature can provide humanity with many of the solutions to the challenges countries and communities face," said Achim Steiner, executive director of the UN Environment Programme (Unep). "Dr King's work spotlights an intelligent solution to an age-old challenge, while providing further confirmation of the importance of bees to people and a really clever way of conserving the world's largest land animal for current and future generations."
"I can't say for certain it's going to work elsewhere, but there is potential to take it down to southern Africa which has the largest elephant population and an increasing human-elephant conflict problem," she said. "With Asia, there are some issues we'd have to look at - it's a totally different elephant species, the bee species are different, it rains a lot more, we have animals like bears that love honey - but I'd be very interested in sharing my research with anyone with experience in Asia to see whether it could work there."
Good catch. Keep posting - unfortunately, bees and elephants don't trump wars.