A 670,000 square meter base specializing in supplying food to elephants in Jinghong, Southwest China's Yunnan Province opened on Tuesday, which will help resolve conflicts between local residents and wild elephants as elephants have been seen breaking into croplands for lack of food.
The construction of the food base, also dubbed "elephants' dining hall," was launched in December 2020 and completed in May at the cost of 100 million yuan ($15 million) the Xinhua News Agency reported on Wednesday.
The "dining hall"has a large amount of plants and five salt pools to meet the need of wild Asian elephant, Cha Wei, deputy director of Jionghong Nature Reserve Management Office, told Xinhua.
The base was established in accordance with the track of wild Asian elephants. "We finally chose the nation-owed forest where Asian elephants regularly pass by," Cha said.
Asian elephant is a Grade-1 species of wild animals under China's priority conservation. The number of Asian elephants in Jinghong has increased from 85 at the end of the last century to 185, causing an overlap in living area between elephants and local residents.
In mid-April, a herd of 14 wild Asian elephants left home and headed north. They wandered more than 500 kilometers across Yunnan, foraged for food in villages and croplands before finally returning to their habitat in mid-August.
Decreasing bearing capacity of the elephant habitat is the major reason for why the herd headed north, wildlife experts said. Wild Asian elephants have to leave their habitant to search for food because edible plants for elephants have been reduced.
If provided with enough food, the elephants will not break into villages and croplands to forage, which can help resolve conflicts between local people and wild elephants, Cha said.