China News Service, Pu'er, August 12th: "Elephant Guardians" in Southwest China, build a safe and harmonious home for people and elephants

  Chinanews.com reporter Han Shuainan

  The 12th is World Elephant Day.

A year ago, the Asian elephant herd went north to the south, causing netizens around the world to "chasing elephants" through pictures, texts, short videos, live broadcasts, etc.

Today, this group of Asian elephants has returned home for a year, but in their homeland, Yunnan Province, on the southwestern border of China, there are still a group of people who are "chasing the elephant" and "protecting the elephant" day and night to keep the "human and elephant safe".

A ranger who has been with Asian elephants for 20 years

  Zhao Jinqing, a 58-year-old Yao ethnic man, is a forest ranger in Nanping Village, Mengman Town, Mengla County. He has been dealing with Asian elephants for more than 20 years.

The data picture shows "Elephant Dad" feeding Asian elephants.

Photo by Miao Chao

  In 1998, Zhao Jinqing found a wild Asian elephant with injured hind legs and slow movement near the village.

Out of sympathy, he began to feed the elephant, "At first, the elephant and I were a little scared of each other, so I only dared to throw the food away. After it is slowly cooked, I can approach it and feed it. Zhao Jinqing found that his hind legs were seriously injured, so he wrapped a bamboo pole with a cloth strip to apply medicine to the elephant.

After taking good care of him for more than two months, the elephant eventually died of his injuries.

  Since then, Zhao Jinqing has also begun to participate in the monitoring and protection of Asian elephants while undertaking the work of a ranger.

  "Asian elephants are very human and naive." Zhao Jinqing's words revealed his love for Asian elephants, but there were times when elephants made him helpless.

With the growth of the population of Asian elephants and changes in their food structure, many Asian elephants have left the protected area for activities and foraging. The crops grown by many villagers, including Zhao Jinqing, have been destroyed by Asian elephants many times.

  "The public liability insurance for wild Asian elephants has been established since 2011, and the amount of claims has increased year by year, ensuring the livelihood of the villagers." Zhao Jinqing said that he will continue to protect the forest and the common homeland of people and Asian elephants.

 The ups and downs of "Like Dad"

  At the Asian Elephant Rescue and Breeding Center in Xishuangbanna, a group of staff accompany the rescued Asian elephants for more than 10 hours a day, cleaning up their feces, bathing them, and taking them for wild training.

The group is affectionately known as "Elephant Dad."

  Chen Jiming is an "elephant dad" of the center.

He introduced that the rescued Asian elephants included young elephants injured by iron clips, female elephants injured in accidents, and male elephants who were injured in fights for mates. Fear and pain come here.

It is the careful and warm care of the "Elephant Dads" that healed their wounds and rekindled their hope of survival.

  Chen Jiming said that "Elephant Dad" requires patience, perseverance, learning about Asian elephants, and daily work is very hard.

The most fulfilling moment for him was seeing the rescued baby elephants grow day by day and the injured wild elephants gradually recovering.

"I have spent far more time with Asian elephants than with my family." When it comes to family members, Chen Jiming is full of guilt.

  "But the work of 'Elephant Dad' is very meaningful. It not only helps the 'elves' in these forests, but also allows us to gain a lot of research results on Asian elephants. I will continue to persevere." Chen Jiming said.

 Truck driver becomes Asian elephant monitor

  Recently, a group of wild Asian elephants came to the vicinity of Manke Old Village, Kangping Town, Jiangcheng County.

Diao Faxing, an Asian elephant monitor, only slept for more than three hours the first day in order to "watch" the elephants.

He took a sip of the coffee handed by the villagers and continued to control the drone to monitor the movement of the elephants.

The picture shows that on July 31, Diao Faxing was monitoring the trajectory of wild Asian elephants.

Photo by Li Jiaxian

  "We must accurately grasp the movements of elephants." Diao Faxing said that once Asian elephants are found to be passing through human activity areas, monitors will notify nearby people to avoid them through WeChat groups and mobile APPs.

  Diao Faxing, originally a truck driver, became an Asian elephant monitor in 2016 out of curiosity about Asian elephants.

In the following years, he grew rapidly. He not only knew the map of Jiangcheng County and the habits of Asian elephants, but also mastered the use of drones and Asian elephant monitoring and early warning systems.

  While safeguarding human safety, Asian elephant monitors are also monitoring the health of each Asian elephant at all times, and reporting any abnormalities to the relevant departments in a timely manner.

"I witnessed the birth of 4 baby elephants this year, which shows that our protection has been effective." Diao Faxing said happily.

  In the past 30 years, under the situation that the total number of Asian elephants in the world has been decreasing, the number of wild Asian elephants in China has continued to grow to the current 360 or so.

While continuously increasing ecological protection, China is also exploring a unique way of harmonious coexistence between humans and elephants with the joint efforts of Zhao Jinqing, Chen Jiming, Diao Faxing and other "elephant guardians".

(Finish)