Top: Men install BuzzBoxes at a farm. Picture credit: Elephant Research and Conservation
By Mark B. Newa
MONROVIA – For years, villagers mainly in northwestern and southeastern Liberia have lost their crops to invading elephant herds. This makes it difficult for farmers to feed their families and meet other needs.
Now, conservationists working in Liberia have found that a device armed with the sound of honeybees can repel elephants. The scientists from the Elephant Research and Conservation (ELRECO) tested the audio device in Gbanjala, a town in Gola-Konneh District, Grand Cape Mount County.
Video footage posted on YouTube shows an elephant stopping to eat when it hears the buzz of insects placed in the mounted device. In a few seconds, the animal folded its trunk, hurriedly took a few steps backward and raced away.
“It is the first time we test this device now in West Africa, seeing that it really works to have this evidence that it really works,” Dr. Tina Vogt, ELRECO’s technical director, told The DayLight in an interview.
“At the moment we [are] extending the testing phase so we work together with some Liberian entrepreneurs to improve a bit on the censor, the mechanism, the release mechanism,” Vogt added.
ELRECO, a German nonprofit based in Liberia, is currently testing the device in Liberia. It is collaborating with Save the Elephants (STE) to deploy the BuzzBox. It costs around $100, the New York Times reported. STE is a UK-registered charity based in Nairobi, Kenya.