Asian elephant protection – ChinaConserving Asian elephant populations through coexistence initiatives
(Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture, China – May 7, 2022) Ten distinguished rangers and community members were honored for helping to promote human-elephant coexistence in China.
The ceremony, held on May 7, is the first milestone celebration jointly organized by IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare) and local governmental partners in Jinghong, Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture of Yunnan Province, as part of the Human-Elephant Co-existence Community Ranger Network Initiative launched in April 2021.
Xishuangbanna is home to most of the about 300 last remaining wild Asian elephants in China. As the capital city of Xishuangbanna, Jinghong lies in the central region of Xishuangbanna connecting the five sub-reserves of Xishuangbanna National Natural Reserve.
In 2021, as a result of the increase in elephants roaming outside of reserve areas and interacting with local residents, IFAW and Jinghong Forestry and Grassland Administration jointly launched the Community Ranger Network Initiative to enhance the safety of both humans and elephants. IFAW trained 30 rangers to enable them to conduct in-depth community-level human-elephant conflict (HEC) mitigation training for villagers and continue to support regular patrolling and community HEC prevention education.
One of the awardees, Jinfu Peng from the Dadugang Township, Jinghong, was recognized as a motivated village leader who has significantly contributed to promoting human-elephant coexistence. “He has participated in more than 60 Asian elephant safety events, evacuated more than 2,000 villagers when Asian elephants unexpectedly approached, solved six human-elephant emergencies, and carried out more than 40 public events to provide very detailed information on precautionary and safety measures to villagers. With joint efforts from him and other forestry workers and Asian elephant monitors, no casualties occurred in Dadugang in 2021,” said Dafan Cao, IFAW’s Asian Elephant Protection (AEP) Program Officer.
Cunzhuang Dai, another awardee, said, “I have been living in Yunnan for my whole life, I grew up with the honor to witness the endangered Asian elephant living around us. I am glad that I could learn from IFAW’s program to work to facilitate a healthier relationship between my fellow villagers and elephants.”
As of March 2022, the 30 community rangers have carried out 170 in-depth training sessions reaching 4,946 villagers from more than 70 villages in Jinghong. IFAW also produced and distributed 20,000 copies of the HEC prevention leaflet to share important safety measures about elephants to the villagers.
"Developing a harmonious relationship between humans and elephants requires constant collaboration and communications between grassroot-level staff and local villagers. We will continue to provide support based on actual situation observed from the field to make sure that it goes towards the right direction.” Cao said.
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About IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare) – IFAW is a global non-profit helping animals and people thrive together. We are experts and everyday people, working across seas, oceans and in more than 40 countries around the world. We rescue, rehabilitate and release animals, and we restore and protect their natural habitats. The problems we’re up against are urgent and complicated. To solve them, we match fresh thinking with bold action. We partner with local communities, governments, non-governmental organizations and businesses. Together, we pioneer new and innovative ways to help all species flourish. See how at ifaw.org