September 12, 2018

1:02 pm

The Sound Of Bees Will Protect Elephants From Trains

You know what they say: If Plan A doesn't work out, go to Plan Bee.

Transit officials in India are taking that advice rather seriously as they contend with how to protect elephants from being killed on train tracks. The solution? It's pretty buzz-worthy.

Elephants are terrified of bees and for good reason. While it might seem silly from a size perspective, a bee sting to an elephant's trunk can do some serious damage. Elephant trunks are packed full of nerve endings making them especially painful when stung. Elephants don't forget the pain of their first sting and develop a life-long phobia. But it's not just the sight of bees that turns them off, it's the sound that terrifies them. And this phobia is exactly what transit officials are putting to use.

According to local Indian paper Guwahati Plus: Less than a week ago, "the Union Minister of Railways Piyush Goyal took to social media and said that Railways has come up with ‘Plan Bee’ which involves setting up of devices near tracks, which emit the ‘buzzing’ sound of bees, saving elephants from train accidents."

The devices are very cheap -- coming in at about $27 a pop -- which makes this a highly scalable solution. The pilot test alone which used only one device has prevented around 5 elephant fatalities.

Now THAT is something to buzz about.

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For more clever solutions to saving our fave gentle giant, check out this round-up.