“Beeing” Saved in Kenya


All Elephants deserve our respect, wonder, love, and when necessary, our protection.

Historically, humans haven’t done so well in this regard. Elephants worldwide are in trouble because of poaching, habitat fragmentation or fragmentation, and other careless human actions related to the human/wildlife conflict.

But we can help change this.
By funding the Elephants and Bees project, we can help them Bee Saved.

photo: Paolo Torchio

Almost everyone I know who has been anywhere in Africa says that a visit there changes your life. I had been waiting for this moment since I was a young girl, reading about elephants in the wild, wanting to experience that transformation even then, so when John and I finally got the irresistible (read: we have it all dialed in, let’s go NOW) invitation to join our partner and friend Tori and some very special people on a safari and conservation research trip, there was no hesitation. 

“We’re off to Kenya in a few months!”

photo: Paolo Torchio

Before we journey further, a note to self: it doesn’t matter what excuse or story you have that might be keeping you from going (to Kenya, but really, anywhere you long to go), or giving - just drop that track and get there, give / go, because in doing so, you accept an invitation to our divine life in a vast way, and (rightfully) claim your part in it.

photo: Paolo Torchio

“A sort of homecoming” is what many people say a trip to Africa feels like, and I agree. The return to the wild expanse, the knowing, the extraordinary beauty and survival on the daily, this larger-than-you-have-ever-seen-life, this wild life that you are a part of – you will want to keep and protect always, in heart and in place.

To keep it means there is much work to be done, to conserve the land and secure the wild, which is wild, on every level. We went on game drives daily, the lions, leopards, and cheetahs we were tracking shook me to my living center – the obvious predators, taking other animals down essential to their own survival. But after spending hours and hours observing emotional and intelligent elephants in community, I was maybe more smacked awake when I saw the kind of destruction they caused by natural instinct - raiding crops and trampling over huge expanses of tree and plant life. There must be a better way to channel them to safer corridors to roam, so they can be free to be themselves as nature intended.

photo: Paolo Torchio

With Dr. Ian Douglas-Hamilton and team at Save the Elephants in Karen, Nairobi

After our time on the Mara, we met with Dr. Ian Douglas-Hamilton, the founder and groundbreaking scientist of Save the Elephants and his incredible staff at their HQ in Karen, Nairobi. I was moved beyond heart and imagination by their highly successful “Bees and Elephants” project piloted by Dr. Lucy King - beehive fences that deter elephants from crop raiding while producing honey for the land owners - and learned firsthand how these natural beehive fences change lives and save elephants.

photo, Dr. Lucy King, courtesy of Save the Elephants

Our bees: life-giving, yet their population dwindling. And our elephants, endangered due to the conflict with humans. As nature, the ecosystem, and an innovative solution would have it, the bees annoy the elephants enough to keep them away with no harm to either... saving elephants, nurturing bees... and sweet honey to be harvested as a by-product to supplement the local farmers’ modest incomes.

save the element

Valuable honey, courtesy of Save the Elephants

Save the Elephants

Honey-producing beehive fence in Tsavo, photo courtesy of Save the Elephants

photo: Dr. Lucy King, courtesy of Save the Elephants


Value the importance

Of close bonds

Of female familial ties

Of learning between generations


Value the importance

Of respect and devotion

Of being in community

Of love, wonder, and seizing moments of joy

Elephant values should be ours.



My imagination and heart were captured learning firsthand about this humble and natural method of sustaining a tolerant relationship between humans and elephants. A year after my visit, we released two pieces I designed in support of this incredible mission - a little elephant charm with a sterling silver spinning bee on its back, and a double sided medallion, both bearing the message BEE SAVED.

save the element

making new friends via an elephant necklace for beaded earring swap

save the element

We invite you to join us in our mission to fund Dr. Lucy King’s research and help Save the Elephants build beehive fences where they are needed most. 

To read more about this innovative solution to the human/elephant conflict problem, and to learn about the success rates and communities impacted, head over to www.savetheelephants.com and www.elephantsandbees.com

Join in conversations on Instagram @pattipagliei @savetheelephants @elephantsandbees_ste

Travel with our friend, acclaimed wildlife photographer Paolo Torchio http://paolotorchio.net/  book a eco-friendly safari with Gamewatchers @porinicamps (tell them your friends at Waxing Poetic sent you).

xx Patti


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