The Elephants and Bees Project – Sri Lanka

The Elephants and Bees Project – Sri Lanka

Project Animal(s) : Elephants
Project Category : Mammals
Project Region : Asia
Project Type : Conservation
Project URL :
Project is timebound? : No

“The Elephants and Bees Research Project is one of Save the Elephants’ innovative programs designed to explore the natural world for solutions to human-elephant conflict.”

Awareness in our beehive fence elephant deterrent method has been growing and the interest is not limited to Africa and African elephants.Sri Lanka has one of the highest elephant populations in Asia with almost 6000 Asian elephants living on the island.
With increasing human-elephant conflict we have started a collaborative project working closely with two Sri Lankan elephant research projects to see if we can export and adapt our beehive fence concept to help the elephants and farmers in the country.

Dr Shermin de Silva leads the Uda Walawe Elephant Research Project team in Sri Lanka and has spent a decade studying and identifying the 1000+ elephants living inside the very special Uda Walawe National Park. Together  initiated a study to understand how the elephants in the park might react to beehive fences using our bee playback methods. Dr de Silva is well known to Save the Elephants, having co-authored several pioneering papers with STE’s Dr George Wittemyer comparing and contrasting the social structures of our African elephants in Samburu with the Asian elephants living in Sri Lanka. Please click here to download our latest publication on how Sri Lankan elephants respond to the sound of disturbed bees.

Additionally, we have partnered with The Sri Lankan Wildlife Conservation Society outside of Wasgamuwa National Park to initiate a pilot study for beehive fences with some of the farmers suffering from human-elephant conflict.

We are focusing on testing the concept using the hives of the indigenous Apis cerana indica, the Indian Honeybee species. This 3 year study in Wasgamuwa is being managed by our Elephants and Bees PhD student, Kylie Butler from Australia’s Newcastle University. She is investigating the social dynamics of crop-raiding elephants around the park and the potential benefit that beehive fences may have in reducing HEC.

Project Agency : Save the Elephants

Project Agency Contact :

Project Researcher : Dr Shermin de Silva