Government staffers use a drone to monitor Asian elephants in Menghai county in April. (PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)
The Xishuangbanna center, built in 2009, is finding it difficult to feed a large number of elephants in a limited area, said Chen Ming-yong, a life sciences professor at Yunnan University who has been studying the animals for decades.
Chen said the center cares for about 60 elephants rescued in the wild or captive bred. But it has less than 3 square kilometers of space. "Living in a limited area for a long time will do harm to them, both physically and psychologically," he said.
Wild Asian elephants can roam up to 40 kilometers a day, making an ideal area for them between 20 and 30 square kilometers.
There also are plans to use scientific surveillance methods such as drones to identify areas used by each group of wild elephants.