We’ve joined the Elephants & Bees Initiative in Sri Lanka!

If you’re a Kiss Me Organics customer you already know that we’re obsessed with product quality and customer service. Now we’re taking our mission to make the world a better place one step further with our first charitable donation to the Elephants and Bees project in Sri Lanka!

“Making the world a healthier place” has always been a priority for us at Kiss Me Organics, and we’ve recently extended that philosophy to include giving back to some of the communities we work with. We’ve just made our first donation to Elephants and Bees, but we’ve got plans for more charitable partnerships in the future, so stay tuned!

Elephants and Bees is an organization that provides a creative solution for reducing human-elephant conflict (HEC) in Sri Lanka. If you haven’t heard of it, HEC is a major conservation challenge for many African and Asian countries with elephant populations and is recognized as the principal threat to these wild elephant populations.

Sri Lanka is home to over 5500 wild Asian elephants (over 10% of the global population) and the increasing human populations and land development in these areas are forcing human and elephants into closer proximity.

Due to the lack of space, HEC is on the rise endangering the lives and the safety of both elephants and humans. HEC is the cause of a range of problems including crop damage and loss, property damage, and injuries to humans, and it mostly affects poor, rural communities where farmers have had to resort to violent methods to protect their livelihoods. These violent methods rarely work in the long term and cause the elephants to become more aggressive towards humans.

In order to help the community in a creative way beneficial to both the elephants and humans of Sri Lanka, Kiss Me Organics has made their first donation to the Elephants and Bees project.

Elephants and Bees uses fences of bee colonies to deter elephants from entering farms and trampling the harvest. Elephants instinctively avoid bees, so a strategically placed beehive fence provides a natural and humane deterrent to elephants crossing over into populated areas. This has the combined benefits of reducing tension between elephants and the local population, while also fighting against bee colony collapse disorder (CCD).

Colony collapse disorder is a phenomenon which has seen bee populations significantly reduced in recent years, which adversely affects pollination and in turn, crops. By using beehive fences to deter the wild elephant populations away from farmland, this project also helps protect the bees from CCD. In addition, the local farmers benefit from the beehives which provide an extra source of income from bee byproducts such as honey, lip balm, and candles.

Introducing beekeeping skills to the community

So far, Elephants and Bees has run two community workshops to teach beekeeping skills to the community. In late 2016, Australian beekeepers Prof. David Gormley-O’Brien and Emma Collins generously donated their time and resources to visit the project site. The workshop covered basic beekeeping techniques and was very well received by the community. David and Emma also visited each beehive fence, showing farmers how to inspect their hives and feed their bees.

In March 2017, Sri Lankan beekeeper Mr. Frank Ryde ran a workshop teaching farmers how to attract wild colonies, transfer colonies into fences and how to sustainably harvest honey. He also spent some time one-on-one with all the beehive fence farmers – checking up on the overall health of the bee colonies. There are plans for a follow-up workshop which will focus on caring for bees during the dry season.

Honey harvests

Early this year, the first small amounts of honey were harvested. Most farmers kept this small harvest for their personal use, however, they plan to sell future harvests when they are able to gather larger amounts. The farmers were very happy to see the rewards of their bee-keeping labor, and the delicious honey has also motivated farmers to continue to invest time looking after their bees and trying to attract wild colonies.

So far the Elephants and Bees project in Sri Lanka has successfully purchased 40 colonies which will be hung along the beehive fences. These 40 colonies will benefit the local community tremendously – allowing them to increase their honey harvests in the coming months which will be an added income source.

We’re super excited to be a part of this creative initiative that will not only help reduce Human Elephant Conflict, but will also give Sri Lankan farmers another source of income!

“We are extremely grateful to Kiss Me Organics for your generous support, and we look forward to sharing our findings and publications with you in the months ahead.”
– Elephants and Bees Project

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