Buzz bees to keep elephants off tracks
Almost 70 elephants were killed by trains between 2013 and June this year, mostly in the north-eastern state of Assam and northern West Bengal. But nearly 50 buzzing amplifiers have been deployed as part of “Plan Bee” at a dozen “elephant corridors” in the vast forests of Assam state, home to nearly 6,000 elephants, 20 percent of the country’s total. “We were looking for means to stop the elephants from coming on to the tracks and our officers came up with this device,” Pranav Jyoti Sharma, an Indian Railways spokesperson, told AFP. The buzzing is played as trains approach vulnerable points and can be heard up to half a mile (600 meters) away, the spokesman said. The devices were tested for efficiency in 2017 on domesticated elephants, and then wild ones before they were deployed for real last year. 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. Elephants have long been known to be frightened by the buzzing of bees and stings.