A thesis submitted to the University of Oxford for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Zoology, Balliol College.
The conceptual origin of this DPhil thesis was based on one foundation publication by Vollrath and Douglas-Hamilton (2002a) “African bees to control African elephants”. The authors made a unique discovery that African elephants will avoid feeding on acacia trees that host beehives, either empty or occupied by African honey bees. The concept that elephants might hold a long term memory about bees that could be so negative as to evolve avoidance behaviour towards an otherwise favourite food source, was deeply intriguing and warranted further study. Two key research questions are asked in this thesis and are reflected in the title (i) what happens when elephants and honey bees interact and (ii) how can we adapt this behaviour into a potential deterrent system for crop-raiding elephants. Hence, this is really a thesis of two halves blending both disciplines of natural and social sciences.