An Endangered Giant: Asian elephants spotted in rural Chinese village
Updated 19:57, 07-Mar-2019
CGTN

Since the first sighting of an elephant in Heishan village, southwest China's Yunnan Province in May 2014, villagers have encountered wild Asian elephants, an animal listed under China's class A protection, with increasing regularity.

An Asian elephant in the dust. /VCG Photo

An Asian elephant in the dust. /VCG Photo

One video clip provided by locals shows a wild elephant looking for food in the village. Another video clip shows a herd of wild elephants walking in a line along the path next to the sugarcane fields.  

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"The elephants usually come here and every time they come they will stay here for a couple of days and sometimes for a month or so," said Yang Suoqie, monitor of the wild Asian elephant.  

The wild elephants have been reported to have destroyed residential houses and injured locals in the village.

In order to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future, the wildlife protection office of Lancang County Forestry Bureau, the Forest Public Security Bureau, and the Fazhanhe Township government coordinated with multiple departments to ensure the safety of the local people while protecting the wild animals at the same time. 

An Asian elephant. /VCG Photo

An Asian elephant. /VCG Photo

In China, Wild Asian elephants are only found in the south of Yunnan province. 

The main problem that these giants face is the competition for sources in populated Yunnan. Human-elephant conflicts inevitably occur.

In March of 2018, ten wild Asian elephants ate the crops and entered the houses of villagers resulting in some damage. In February of 2017, 14 wild Asian Elephants entered farms and crushed livestock. From 2011-2015, more than 48,000 cases of wild elephant trespassing were reported in the province. 

Forest police were trying to rescue a baby elephant from a channel. /VCG Photo

Forest police were trying to rescue a baby elephant from a channel. /VCG Photo

Officials have launched conservation-based policies to decrease the conflicts. They confiscate all firearms, compensate farmers for their financial loss, build fences and encourage farmers to grow crops that elephants don't like.

Asian elephants. /VCG Photo

Asian elephants. /VCG Photo

So far, the population of the wild Asian elephant in China is around 300. It has been listed as endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species since 1986. 

About "An Endangered Giant"

"An Endangered Giant" is a series of articles, photos, and videos about Asian elephant which is the only living species of the genus Elephas. It is also the largest living land animal in Asia.  

(Top image via VCG)

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