We are delighted to report that the first ever 7.5kgs of delicious Mozambican “Elephant-Friendly Honey” has been produced by our trial Beehive Fence farmers living in Niassa National Reserve in northern Mozambique! The farmers’ activities are supported by our WCN partners, Dr Colleen and Keith Begg who run the Niassa Lion Project and are working with communities to reduce all forms of human-wildlife conflict in the area. Mbumba Mafuro is presently working on his MSc project under the Begg’s supervision, investigating the potential of using our novel Beehive Fence design to see if he can reduce human-elephant conflict inside Niassa’s Mbamba Village.
I was able to visit Niassa in December 2012 with financial assistance from Wildlife Conservation Network and Elephant Action League who have both sponsored our trial of beehive fences in the reserve. So far the results have been encouraging and the farmers are learning how to manage their beehives and maintain the fences during the crop-season period.
Two beehive fences, containing 24 beehives, have now been constructed with nine of those hives successfully occupied by wild bee swarms. Mbumba will continue to monitor progress of these beehive fences as effective, natural elephant deterrents and he has plans to build at least two more beehive fences in the coming months.
Production of 7.5kgs of “Elephant-Friendly Honey” honey in July 2013 from the beehives has really given the project a boost and the farmers can experience this additional, money-making aspect to the fence design at first hand. Mbumba plans to make a new label for the jars with “Elephant-Friendly Honey” translated into Portuguese – a proud moment for the whole Niassa Lion Project team! We are delighted to see the results of our Elephants and Bees Project take root in another country and look forward to seeing Mbumba’s project gathering momentum as the next crop-season approaches.