Leopard Ecology & Conservation Leopard and Lion Research

Bees and Trees

Our time in Khutse has seen the increasing decline of natural fuels as the population increases and the need for firewood grows. LEC team is in the process of creating a solar cooker that can be constructed affordably for use in the community to encourage the use of solar energy over wood. However, in the interim, we see it as our ethical duty to educate the community on the importance of trees and the role they play in our environment, therefore the theme for World Nature Conservation Day in 2021 was to plant trees in the village of Kaudwane.

The tree planting aims to create awareness about the need to preserve the environment and natural resources and encourage tree planting in the community and replenish what has been lost. The trees introduced were both indigenous and exotic, allowing for fruit trees to bear fruit and for pollination to feed insects in the area.

Working hand in hand with the tree project is the re-introduction of beekeeping into this area. There are records of this activity in the past, and we were very lucky to meet a local beekeeper in Kaudwane, Asa Segootsane, who grabbed the opportunity to assist us in a pilot bee project. Partnering with Zoom (registred today as Zoom Foundation) in Italy, we have been able to build a pilot project with two active hives. The pilot project will be monitored over a 12-month period to assess the trends, note the challenges and monitor progress over the seasonal changes.

The short-term goal of the beekeeping project is to promote the sustainable harvesting of a natural resource being honey, upskill local members on keeping bees and in turn create job opportunity with bee products. The long-term goal will look at using bee fences to assist in human wildlife conflict.
This is an exciting project that we hope to build on once the pilot is complete in November 2022. We look forward to what this project will produce and how we can expand it in the near future.