Indian Railways has come up with a unique plan to keep elephants from being killed by trains as they cross railway tracks.
It has piloted a projected where it uses bees – or more specifically their sounds – to drive away elephants from near railway tracks!
Two devices that emit sounds like swarms of bees have employed by the Northeast Frontier Railway near the Guwahati station to drive away elephants. Punnily, the project is called "Plan Bee!"
Elephant-bee dynamics at play
Scientists at the Oxford University said in a study published in 2007 that elephants did not like bees.
This caused quite a change in the human understanding of the encounters of these two animals because up until that time it was thought that elephants are not bothered by bees because their skin is too impervious for bee-stings.
However, the Oxford researchers found that bees are attracted to the water that surrounds elephants' eyes, where a stinger can cause quite a lot of damage.
They also found out that bees going into elephants' trunks could drive the pachyderms berserk. As a result, elephants tend to avoid bees.
Taking advantage of nature
It is this phenomenon that Indian Railways is using to save the lives of elephants. After all, the Elephant Census of 2017 estimated that at least 80 of the animals are killed by trains every year.
To stop that from happening, Railways has installed two devices near Guwahati station in Assam to keep animals away.
The devices, which reportedly cost just Rs 2,000 each, emits a high-pitched sound that elephants may feel is coming from a swarm of bees. And the pachyderms can hear this from a distance of 600 metres!
This ensures that the elephants do not come near tracks, and the chances of an elephant being killed by a train are reduced.
Watch this video released by Indian Railways to know more: