In Kenya, researchers are using the recordings of angry bees to frighten African elephants away from populated locations.
When the recordings were played, Oxford University zoologist Lucy King told the Associated Press, the pachyderms “stopped immediately what they were doing, turned to the speaker and very dramatically turned their heads from side to side trying to locate noise. Their trunks were all up in the air until one signaled a retreat for the herd.”
You may have noted this same reaction in your cat when someone starts vacuuming on television — or in your spouse, whenever Jack Bauer’s cell phone rings.
The idea originated with a Kenyan folk belief that elephants are afraid of bees. The researchers, in association with the Save The Elephants organization, have been trying to find ways to help Kenya’s elephant population recover from decimation during the ivory trade, which was outlawed in 1989. Kenya’s human population has tripled since the late ’70s, putting humans into much greater contact with elephants and increasing the chance that frightened or pissed-off homo sapiens will go all Allan Quatermain on elephants that approach them or trample their crops (or children).
Image from Wikipedia.