Locals in Yunnan trained on Asian elephant awareness

Residents advised on how to deal with mammals if they enter inhabited areas

By CHEN LIANG in Mengla, Yunnan | China Daily | Updated: 2024-05-28 08:40
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Zhao Huaidong, an expert in ecology of Xishuangbanna in Yunnan, gives a lecture during a training session held in Mengla on March 10. CHEN LIANG/CHINA DAILY

Living with elephants

Through training, according to Ma, the primary objective is to heighten the awareness of Asian elephant conservation and biodiversity among members of the monitoring team.

"By empowering these elephant watchers, we intend to encourage them to bring up-to-date information on elephants and safety protocols to local communities," she said. "We expect that it will foster community acceptance of the information and facilitate the acquisition of essential knowledge. By imparting skills that help villagers avoid encounters with elephant herds, we anticipate an improvement in the safety of the local people."

Over the past 20 years since IFAW China initiated its Asian Elephant Protection project, Cao said the main strategies implemented include establishing an elephant activity monitoring and warning system to alleviate human-elephant conflicts; conducting scientific research to formulate elephant population protection strategies; mobilizing local communities to increase their adaptability and tolerance toward elephants; supporting local communities in adopting sustainable development practices to enhance their resilience to economic losses caused by elephant activities; and conducting environmental education to enhance community awareness of elephant conservation.

Cao said 540 publicity activities in 186 villages, farms, tea processing plants and communities in Jinghong have involved 13,571 residents so far.

The project has so far produced and distributed 40,000 copies of the Asian Elephant Safety Manual.

Since 2021, IFAW China has given 70 sets of field equipment to the elephant watchers in Jinghong. The donation has significantly bolstered their safety and protection while carrying out fieldwork.

At the launch ceremony in Mengla, the nonprofit donated 15 sets of field equipment such as hiking boots and garments to the monitoring team members.

"We hope that this equipment will improve and enhance the efficiency of their fieldwork," Ma said.

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