How To Protect Elephants? A Coloradan’s Tools Include Beehives


After crossing a river, a wet elephant calf walks alongside its mother, who carries humans during anti-poaching runs in Nepal’s Bardia National Park. This calf and others are sired by wild bull elephants that enter the breeding centers searching for females in estrus. (Courtesy of Dave Johnson)

Colorado zookeeper Dave Johnson helps Nepalis use beehives to keep marauding elephants from decimating rice paddies. It’s one way he’s working to protect elephants, rhinos and other endangered species around the world and it’s critical because the numbers of these animals are dropping fast. In Africa, for instance, some 30,000 elephants are killed by poachers every year. A subspecies of African rhinos is down to just three individuals in captivity, guarded by armed men.

Conservation efforts aimed at protecting the one-horned rhinos that live only in Nepal and India have had positive results, since hitting a low of a couple of hundred, the population has grown to some 3,400.

Johnson wants to create a “fusion of cultures in the name of conservation”, so he formed the Katie Adamson Conservation Fund. He also takes Coloradans to Nepal, Africa and elsewhere and gets Nepali and African children involved in conservation projects.

Colorado Matters host Andrea Dukakis spoke with Dave Johnson.

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