Beekeeping initiatives around Lake Manyara avert human-wildlife conflicts

MANYARA: SPECIAL beekeeping initiatives undertaken by villages surrounding Lake Manyara National Park seem to be playing an important role in averting cases of HumanWildlife Conflicts.

Supported by the Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA) through its Community Development Department, the Beekeeping and Honey Harvesting project is currently established in the Silalei Village of Engusero, in Monduli District with over 80 beehives in operation.

A community group with a membership of 30 villagers, mostly women, is also active in environment conservation activities within the precinct.

The Lake Manyara National Park’s Conservation and Public Relations Officer, Maingo Ole Killel explained that bees are the best guardians of the forest and natural growth.

“Bees usually scare illegal loggers and people who trespass into forests and other protected areas to harvest resources or burn charcoal,” stated Mr Killel, adding that this was an effective way to protect the environment.

On the other hand, the beekeeping venture also helps the villagers to earn sustainable income through selling of bees’ products such as honey and wax, used for food and medicine as well as in the production of exotic beverages.

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With the beehives hanging on the National Park’s perimeter borders, they help to keep elephants from leaving the conservancy and venture into villages where they may cause problems.

“Elephants are afraid of bees and the bees’ buzzing sound scares and stops the jumbos from getting out of the parks and cause mayhem to residential areas or local farms,” the conservator stated.

The forest cover surrounding this area happens to be an important source of natural water springs whose water flows into a large dam which is a major supplier of water to people and their livestock.

According to local residents, before the beekeeping project, the area’s natural growth used to suffer mass destruction from illegal loggers and other trespassers, but with the participatory conservation efforts between the park management and local villagers, the important forest is now protected.

Tobico Lesiara, a member of the village projects’ committee said they started beekeeping initiatives in the course of last year and were grateful to TANAPA because in a few days’ time, they will be harvesting honey and beeswax.

Assistant Commissioner of Conservation, Eva Mallya, who commands Lake Manyara National Park said the park is surrounded by a total of 51 villages and has been successful in maintaining good relations and cooperation with local residents.

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