‘Plan Bee’: Indian Railways Use Honey Bees To Prevent Elephants From Getting Hit On Tracks
The largest animal on Earth, elephants are scared of the tiniest insects that are honey bees. Yes, you could enjoy a good laugh! Studies have revealed that elephants tend to run away within 80 seconds of hearing a honey bee sound.
Though, a bee cannot obviously penetrate an elephant’s thick skin but the sharp ‘sting of a bee’ is painful. Many research studies have found out that elephants were known to break open wild beehives as they probed through Acacia trees in South African nations. The result, the furious bees would then attack the sensitive parts of an elephant including its trunk, eyes and mouth.
Since its sting hurts a lot therefore, elephants would avoid wild beehives at any cost. Environmentalists and scholars decided to use honey bees as a protection cover against elephants. This solution was earlier used in South Africa, where human beings and elephants are known to live in close proximity to each other.
They would destroy the farmer crops. A solution was then suggested to build a beehive fence that would keep the elephants at bay. Now, the Indian Railways has also devised a ‘Plan Bee’ to avoid elephant deaths that come in the way of railway tracks.
Minister of state in the Ministry of Railways, Rajesh Gohain in the Lok Sabha last year informed that around 35 elephants were killed on railway tracks between 2014 and 2016. Five elephants were killed until July 2017, news agency ANI reported.
In April 2018, four elephants were killed by the Howrah-Mumbai Express at the double-crossing railway tracks near Telidihi village of Jharsugida district in Odisha alone. The Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) adopted ‘Plan Bee’ last year in which a device costing Rs 2,000 was first installed at the level crossings near the Guwahati railway station.
The device produces and amplifies the sound of swarming bees. Elephants who consider honey bees as their arch rivals can listen to the buzzing sound from 600 metres away. The moment they hear the sound they tend to run away hence, preventing them from getting hit by railway trains.