Beehive Fence Update
From: Lucy King, Department of Zoology, Balliol College, University of Oxford
Sent: Fri, 23 July, 2010
I have had two really enjoyable trips to Sagalla over the past few months. The beehive fences have been looked after extremely well by Bernard and Ambrose (the farmers) and they seem to be very proud of them which I can see from the maintenance and condition of the hives, roofs and wire. They have recorded 14 sheets showing incidents of elephants approaching near the fences and to date only 1 bull elephant has broken through which seems like a good ratio to me. I think we really need to monitor them for another crop-season before we can be absolutely sure that its working but so far they have effectively had no problems inside the fences and the crop harvest has been pretty good. The only problem we are having is with wasps coming into the hives! I have phoned Kilele recently and suggested that they smoke them out as this had recently worked well in Samburu. Unfortunately this wasp issue seems to be worse in Sagella but lets hope the new smoking-out system has an effect.
Its such a pleasure to visit the community, every time I have been I am so welcomed and Margaret is always there with a cup of tea and a snack! Her new teachers house is super and she seems very happy having a nice room to settle into. I took the liberty of taking down a set of T-Shirts for the football team at Kilele’s suggestion which was fun and I enclose a photo of some of the team wearing some team shirts. I couldn’t afford the pricey proper football shirts but they now have “Plant a Tree Save the Earth” T-shirts which are not nearly as trendy but at least they are all the same colour and there is a bit of an environmental message in there!
I’m just off to the UK now to finish the last two months of my write up in Oxford. Masses of work to do so I probably won’t make it back to sagella until November when I return to Kenya but that should be a good time to visit just as the new crops have been planted. Looking forward to it already!
Best wishes for now,
Lucy King MSc
DPhil Researcher, Animal Behaviour Research Group & Save the Elephants, Kenya
Department of Zoology, Balliol College, University of Oxford