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Guwahati, July 21, 2019:

Elephants are the largest mammals alive on land today. Researchers have discovered that these animals are afraid of bees. They flee when they hear the buzz of a bee swarm.
This information could be used to help protect them.

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Indian Railways have come up with a novel way of getting elephants to ‘buzz off’ from train tracks.

Speakers that play the sound of bees to scare the jumbos away could be used to scare away the jumbos.

Elephants have long been known to be frightened by the buzzing of bees and sting.Nearly 50 buzzing amplifiers have been deployed as part of “Plan Bee” at a dozen “elephant corridors” in the vast forests of Assam.

The first of these devices was installed at a level crossing between Kamakhya and Azara railway stations near Guwahati two months ago. The novel approach has won the team accolades from animal conservationists and on Tuesday an award for “best innovative idea” from Indian Railways for regional operator Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR). The crossing is a few metres from one of 27 elephant corridors under NFR, which covers northern West Bengal and parts of eastern Bihar besides the northeastern states.

Human-elephant conflict is a major challenge for supporting the survival and persistence of elephants in their range countries because these are places where the development and well-being of human communities sharing space with these mega-herbivores is also important. It may be mentioned that an elephant calf named Bholu is the mascot of Indian Railways. Elephants are also worshiped and used in religious rituals.

According to the Assam forest department’s 2011 census, there are an estimated 5,620 elephants in the state. Train-hits included, 225 elephants died in Assam between 2006 and 2016 because of growing man-animal conflicts.

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