CHINA Elephant 'dining area' to head off conflicts

CHINA

Elephant 'dining area' to head off conflicts

China Daily

10:58, March 11, 2019

Two bull elephants fight in Wild Elephant Valley in the Xishuangbanna National Nature Reserve, Yunnan province March, 2018. (Photo: China Daily)

KUNMING-Southwest China's Yunnan province will build a "dining area" for wild Asian elephants, aiming to solve conflicts between the endangered animals and the area's residents.

The 51-hectare dining area will be located in a 137.5-hectare habitat for 18 wild Asian elephants in Menghai county, in Xishuangbanna's Dai autonomous prefecture, which also encompasses 13 villages where 35,000 people live.

The dining area will grow corn, sugar cane, bamboo and bananas. An elephant habitat reconstruction project will also be launched.

"Protecting the lives and property of local residents is key to Asian elephant conservation, which is also the most difficult part," a forestry bureau official said.

The bureau said the reconstruction work and the establishment of the dining area will provide elephants with a relatively stable habitat, could further safeguard people's lives and property, and reduce human-elephant conflicts.

In the past few years, the province has reported cases of wild elephants killing and injuring people and damaging houses and facilities.

Wild Asian elephants, mainly found in Yunnan, are under Class A protection in China. With stronger environmental and wildlife protection efforts, the number of wild Asian elephants in the country has grown to about 300.

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