Beehives to remain while officials comb for solutions

By Sonja Candappa

A move to relocate the giant combs of the honey bees from the Sigiriya rock has been put on hold, and instead, additional safety measures will be introduced for visitors. Wildlife Minister, S.M. Chandrasena visited Sigiriya on Friday, with the intention of removing the giant combs from the rock.

However, officials said that, on arrival at the site, the minister realised that removing or relocating the combs was not possible, and instead, improve safety measures. The move to remove the combs came as officials were of the view that the frequent attacks of visitors would discourage visitors to the place.

Earlier this year, some foreign tourists were also injured and hospitalised, as a result of bee attacks. However, officials say that these bee attacks were mainly due to the misbehaviour of local tourists. Therefore, it was decided that, the best way to prevent attacks would be to take precautionary measures, such as to distance the visitors from areas where the combs are situated.

Official discussions are ongoing as to the best course of action that would benefit the visitors as well as the bees. Officials have appealed to visitors to cooperate and abide with the safety measures, and to refrain from entering after consuming liquor, or smoking while inside, and remain silent while climbing the rock.

The villagers affirm bees’ right to continue to nest at Sigiriya, and believe that, anyone who removes them from their home, will be cursed. Environmentalists also say that, the bees play a vital role in the pollination of flowers in gardens below and in areas around the rock.

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