Welcome back to the Zookeeper Diaries series! In this post, we explore the life and work of Dr. Lucy King, an award-winning scientist and conservationist known for her groundbreaking research on the relationship between African elephants and bees.
A Love for Wildlife
Growing up in East Africa, Dr. Lucy King was captivated by the incredible diversity of wildlife surrounding her. This fascination led her to pursue a career in zoology, with a focus on conservation and animal behavior. She obtained her Ph.D. in Zoology from the University of Oxford, where she conducted pioneering research on African elephants.
The Elephant and Bees Project
In 2007, Dr. King launched the Elephant and Bees Project, a groundbreaking initiative that explores the use of bees as a natural deterrent to prevent crop-raiding by elephants. The project stemmed from the discovery that elephants are instinctively afraid of bees and will avoid areas where bees are present.
One of the most notable outcomes of Dr. King’s research is the development of beehive fences, a unique and sustainable solution to human-elephant conflict. These fences consist of beehives strategically placed around the perimeter of a farm or village. When elephants attempt to enter, the hives are disturbed, causing the bees to emerge and deter the elephants from entering the area.
A Win-Win Solution
The use of beehive fences has proven to be an effective and sustainable way to protect crops and reduce human-elephant conflict. The fences not only help farmers protect their livelihoods, but they also provide an additional source of income through the sale of honey and beeswax. This innovative approach benefits both elephants and local communities.
Awards and Recognition
Dr. King’s work has received numerous awards and accolades, including the UNEP/CMS Thesis Award for her Ph.D. research, the Future for Nature Award, and the St. Andrews Prize for the Environment. She was also named a National Geographic Emerging Explorer in 2011.
Spreading the Word
Dr. King is dedicated to sharing her knowledge and expertise with the world, both through her own research and by collaborating with other scientists and conservationists. She has published numerous scientific papers and regularly gives talks and presentations to raise awareness about the importance of elephant conservation and sustainable solutions to human-elephant conflict.
Dr. Lucy King’s innovative research and unwavering dedication to elephant conservation have made her a leading figure in her field. Her work with the Elephant and Bees Project demonstrates the power of creative, science-based solutions in addressing the complex challenges faced by wildlife and human communities alike.
Stay tuned for our next Zookeeper Diaries installment, where we’ll continue to introduce you to the exceptional individuals working tirelessly in the world of wildlife conservation.
Until next time,