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  • Jonathan Gnanapragasam

Bees, Bees and Bees!!

Our second field visit however was quite eventful. We left as usual early in the morning and checked a few camera traps. One of the camera traps in the Norwood, Blairathol division had been stolen which was a worry as we had lost all the data on that trap. On our way to check the camera traps in the Norwood, Upper division both Andrew and I were ambushed by a swarm of bees which chased us all the way downhill to the jeep. The bees were relentless. We jumped into our jeep and I was in no capacity to drive so Andrew and I switched seats inside without opening the jeep doors and Andrew rushed me to the Dickoya hospital where we were both treated for bee stings. While in the jeep we were both killing bees still inside which made the drive to the hospital even more unpleasant. Though both of us had been stung I had experienced the brunt of the attack. I was in very bad shape with stings all over my face, head and body. It took 10 people in total to remove all the stings. Luckily I had long hair so the bees had got stuck in it, but my hair had to be cut rather crudely to get all the bees and the stings out. A night at the hospital was all that was required and now I’m back to normal apart from a swollen face and the loss of most of my hair. According to Andrew I look like a prized fighter who has been defeated in his last fight. The doctors at the hospital told me that I am lucky to be alive. I am thankful to God for a speedy recovery, for a quick response from the hospital staff and for an awesome boss who acted quickly and saved my life.

As a conservationist this is part of working in the field. I am in a way glad this happened because this was a life experience and it taught me that bees are far deadlier than leopards. It also shows that this is a regular occurrence in the hill country with tea pluckers in constant danger of bee and wasp attacks. Andrew says ‘’ the bees are starting their campaign to world domination’’. Andrew has collected a jar of the dead bees from our jeep as a memory of our attack. We were also very lucky the estate manager was able to retrieve our stolen camera so all’s well that ends well.

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