Measures taken to ensure safety of humans, foraging elephants in Yunnan

Jiangcheng County in southwest China's Yunnan Province is taking various measures to ensure the safety of both its residents and the 39 wild Asian elephants that have been eating crops during the day and entering residential homes for food in the evening.

Footage taken in Mankelao Village on Saturday afternoon shows some of the wild Asian elephants gathering from different areas in the province and damaging agricultural facilities including greenhouses and a cornfield while eating the crops, and another group of elephants walking downhill toward another cornfield.

"There are 39 wild Asian elephants in the village in total. On November 28, 14 of them came here from a mountain in Qingtou Village. Then 25 of them came from Dashujiao Village on December 4. They sleep in a forest from morning to noon near the upper section of the road, and then come down to enter the village in the afternoon," said Diao Faxing, a member of the Asian elephant monitoring team in Jiangcheng County.

Experts said the elephants are suffering from food shortages during the current season, and the ripening corn in Mankelao Village drew the hungry elephants from the other areas.

In an attempt to ensure the safety of both the elephants and the villagers, Jiangcheng County has organized monitoring groups, forest rangers and others to carry out tracking and monitoring of the elephants around the clock, give early warnings to residents when necessary and implement temporary traffic controls at road sections disrupted by the elephants.

In order to prevent the wild elephants from posing safety threats to villagers, the local government has installed electric barriers along relevant road sections. 

The barriers do not hurt the animals, but do prevent them from entering villages and harming people, the monitoring team said.

Local villagers who have suffered losses from the movements of the wild elephants are being compensated by relevant insurance programs. 

Asian elephants are under first-class state protection in China. There are currently 300 wild Asian elephants in Yunnan and the population continues to grow.

(Image via VCG)

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