Across China: 40 wild Asian elephants spotted in SW China
KUNMING, July 15 (Xinhua) -- A herd of 40 wild Asian elephants has been spotted foraging on a mountain in Mengla County, southwest China's Yunnan Province.
According to the county's forestry and grassland administration, the elephants are aboriginal to the county and are the main objects of monitoring and protection by local authorities.
On the evening of July 11, the wandering herd arrived at a mountain slope near Molong Village.
"The area is uncultivated land covered with palm leaves, which are one of the giants' favorite foods," said Qin Wenjian, an officer at a local border police station.
When the herd appeared in the area, its presence was immediately reported by 32-year-old villager Long Nengxiong, using an app for issuing elephant warnings. Together with his colleague Chen Yongsheng, Long is in charge of monitoring elephants in the area.
At the scene, the staff carried out traffic control, road blocks, personnel guidance and other work where the elephants were passing through, so as to ensure their safety.
At about 8:30 p.m., the elephants vanished into the woods.
"The herd currently has 29 adult elephants and 11 juvenile ones," said Long, who has been monitoring wild Asian elephants since 2019.
"They usually come out for food in the evening, walk, eat and rest, and don't return to the woods to rest until dawn the next day, and our day's work is over," he said.
The forest in the area has an abundance of bamboo, palm leaves and hundreds of other plants that Asian elephants like to eat, said Long. "Their range of activity is wide, and each adult elephant eats some 200 kilograms every day."
According to Mengla's forestry and grassland administration, this herd has lived mainly in the county for the past decades. In the past 10 years, with the continuous improvement of the ecological environment and the increasing protection of wild Asian elephants, they have increased in number year by year, from more than 30 in the past to 40 now.
Wild Asian elephants, a flagship species in the rainforest, are under A-level state protection in China. Thanks to stronger environmental and wildlife protection efforts, the population in the country has grown to about 300, mostly scattered around Yunnan.