Ig Nobel winner uses bees against elephants

The Deccan Chronicle reports about the latest experiment by 2002 Ig Nobel mathematics prize winner K.P. Sreekumar:

Forest dept to use bees to stop jumbos

Honeybees may look humble but can drive away a marauding pack of wild elephants.

This is no Aesop fable but a new strategy being mooted by the desperate forest department to protect fringe populations and their assets from crop-raiding tuskers.

After having experimented with many ideas – ranging from electric fencing to playing recorded tiger growls — the new method aims at building a fence of bee-hives along the habitats, especially where elephant corridors lie close to farms and colonies.

The possibility of scaring elephants with buzzing bees was mooted by Dr K.P. Sreekumar, professor (veterinary physiology) and Head Research Co-ordination, Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University.

Dr Sreekumar is the winner of the ‘Ig Nobel’ prize for developing a formula to calculate the weight of an elephant using the circumference of its front leg.

“My recommendation is based on its success in Kenya and Sri Lanka,” he said. “In both places, farmers attested to the fact that bee-hive fences did deter elephants. This is a safe and economical strategy.