【平阳县】The Travel of “International Superstars”
Asian elephants, the “international superstars” whose popularity have lately exploded, are among the first class national protected animals in China. Asian elephants in China are found at a small amount only in the southern part of Yunnan province, along the border with Myanmar and Laos. With the protection and rescue operation for more than 30 years, it’s exhilarated for us to find that the population of wild Asian elephants in Yunnan has grown from 193 in the early 1980s to about 300 today.
Recently, the northward migration of Asian elephants in Yunnan Province has attracted extensive attention from the international community. It is common for Asian elephants to migrate and spread, but it is very unusual for them to go all the way north, whereas in the past they have cycled through a range of habitats. Furthermore, it was the first time that Asian elephants had moved so far to the north in China, which was worth being gone down in history. The northward migration was so dramatic, not only because it was a rare natural phenomenon for Asian elephants, but Asian elephants’ cute ways of eating, playing and swimming have also aroused intense interests among netizens around the world. They are literally "tons of cuteness".
The surge in the population and the northward migration of the Asian elephants are the results of the aggressive prevention measures taken by the local government in Yunnan, which have been widely recognized by the international community. To have better protection of the Asian elephant, the Yunnan government has launched seven related protection measures of "improving mechanism and innovating management services" in 2019. It carries on the explicit stipulation and the strict standard to strengthening habitat protection and restoration of Asian elephants, improving the construction of monitoring and early warning systems, and further strengthening law enforcement efforts.
Like the old saying goes, “Every coin has two sides.” During the migration, many local residents have seen elephants pass by their doorways, even crashing into their doorbars. Although there were no casualties in the incident, plenty of serious safety risks were hidden in it. How to prevent and alleviate the "human-elephant conflict" has become the primary concern of Yunnan government. To help local residents live in harmony with the elephants, authorities have been building "canteens" for the animals, building anti-elephant fences for villagers and carrying out monitoring and warning measures. High-tech devices such as surveillance, drones and infrared detection are also widely used to keep tabs on the elephants' whereabouts and to make announcements to local residents.
We are glad to see that the cute “international superstars” are protected at the highest level in China, living and breeding freely in Yunnan province that is like spring all the year round. Why the Asian elephants embarked on this epic journey remains a mystery. Maybe the family would like to roam the earth, go on vacation and enjoy the scenery. Fortunately, they depend on a country that is strong enough to afford the high cost of living and to give them enough energy and space to go sightseeing.