Bees to save the elephants?!

Many believe that elephants are scared of mice… This is a myth! But, did you know that they don’t get along very well with bees?

Thus, as part of its conservation project at the Campo Ma’an National Park in Cameroon, the Zoo de Granby and its partners had the idea of installing beehives to circumvent the elephants’ route away from the villages and ultimately, help them to escape poachers. The result: happy villagers, fields of crops and plantations spared, and elephants protected… plus, honey as a treat for everyone!

Let’s start at the beginning! Over the past 5 years, the Zoo de Granby has developed a partnership with several conservation organizations in Cameroon in order to encourage the protection of the Campo Ma’an National Park’s biodiversity (264,000 ha). The park is located in the southern part of the country. Actions were mainly to protect elephants and gorillas.

Through its work, the zoo hopes to support the ecoguards in their fight against poachers and to contribute to the scientific work analyzing these animals’ movements.

One of the issues the zoo is interested in is that many elephants pass through villages and eat the fruits in the tree plantations established by the local native Bagyeli Pygmy communities who live all along the park’s limits. This has created many conflicts between humans and elephants. Here is where the bees come in…

The Zoo de Granby and Concordia University had the idea of replicating an experiment carried out in Kenya. They built a fence around the plantations, but not just any fence… This one was made of beehives! The hives offer honey for the community, and the bees ensure that the plantations are protected, plus they’d pollinate the fruit trees.

The “hive fences” are an initiative created by researcher Lucy King, in 2006, supported by Oxford University, Disney’s Animal Kingdom and the Save the Elephants organization. Her project is still going on in savannah areas of Kenya.

We weren’t sure the project would be a success at the Campo Na’an National Park because, here, we’re working in a tropical forest setting. Bees therefore have less of an interest in settling in their hives, since there are many natural shelters for them.

Still, actions were implemented in 2018 thanks to the financial support of the Zoo de Granby and the participation of the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife, and Ministère de l’Élevage des Pêches et Industries Animales au Cameroun.

About twenty hives have now been installed in two populated zones where elephants are also present. In February, the first liters of honey were gathered and given to the village’s chief and one of the plantation’s owners. Mead and candles were made with the honey and wax.

The objective now is to install between 50 and one hundred hives throughout the next years in order to produce more honey for the local markets and to ensure that the hive fences are effective for protecting the plantations against the elephants’ voracious appetites. It seems to be working because the farmers from the Mabiogo Village have stated that, over the last few months, the elephants haven’t been wandering near their plantations!

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Testimonials

It's the 3rd year in a row that my family and I visit this Zoo. Even though it was during the busiest day they had this year, we were able to visit everything and fully enjoy the experience. Don't forget to bring your bathing suit cause they have an amazing wave pool!

Éric Trudel

Amazing place to take the family! Lots of animals to see, amazing water park and fun rides. Great packages available with hotels close by for out of town visitors. Highly recommend!

Paul Winch

Our whole family attended yesterday. It was absolutely spectacular. We had a fantastic time! Thanks for the memories!

Samantha Hope

We love going to the zoo. (…) Most of the animals were out and the grandkids were thrilled. I'd never been to the Dinozoo before and I thought it was pretty cool especially with the movement and sounds. The design is great in that it's seperated and all goes back to the center.

Stephen Eyton-Jones

Amazing place. Perfect for the whole family. They constantly improve their environments and animals collection.

Boris Kosov

First time visiting here on our annual summer week in Québec. We went for the 2 day family pass, and had an amazing time. The 2 days allowed us to take our time around the park, and gave plenty of time as well for cooling off at the Amazoo. We'll definitely come back!

JR Bélanger

A good place for family outing with zoo, water park and rides all at one place. All the attractions are conveniently placed very close to each other. Food court is good too and you can also bring in your lunch.

Anand Bharadwaj Aryasomayajula

What a great time. Would definitely go again. The zoo care takers are amazing at what they do and so friendly. I would recommend if you have never gone it's a bucket list. Oh and don't forget to go and pet the sting rays.

Jamie Krichtoff

We had an excellent time! We have not been in over 10 years and are so glad we went! The park is clean. The food was well priced for a theme park. We loved the Dinozoo! We have terrible French speaking abilities but appreciated your courteous and friendly staff, we felt welcome!

Bonnie Diane

Our family absolutely enjoyed our day! There was so much to do! Park was very clean and staff was very friendly and helpful with any questions!!! We plan on going next year and making it a weekend trip so that we can enjoy the whole park!

Crystal Wilson

I had an amazing time here with my family! My kids absolutely loved it. Amazing experience :)

Mario Sevo