Drones used to protect Yunnan residents from wild elephants

Updated 2017-12-13 15:33:19 chinadaily.com.cn

Police and forestry workers are using drones to monitor the activities of a wild elephant that has attacked several vehicles in Menghai county, Yunnan province.

The adult elephant smashed the front window of a bus and pushed a car off the road at the weekend, Beijing Youth Daily reported on Tuesday. No deaths or injuries were reported.

On Saturday, the bus broke down and the driver insisted on staying in the vehicle, despite warnings from the forestry bureau, a source was quoted as saying in the report.

At 6 pm, the wild elephant approached the bus, looked inside, and hit the window with its head, according to the source. The driver was unhurt.

On Sunday morning, the elephant pushed a car off the road, the report added.

Wang Tongxing, deputy director of the Menghai public security bureau, attributed the incidents to the migration season.

According to Chen Mingyong, a professor in Yunnan University's Life Sciences Department who has studied Asian elephants for years, wild elephants usually migrate between November and April when food is scarce.

"They chase down food, wander around, and don't have a home," he said.

There is also a group of 16 elephants and one lone elephant in neighboring Lancang county, according to the forestry authority.

At present, drones are being used to conduct real-time monitoring of all 18 elephants 24 hours a day. Sections of road will be cordoned off if elephants are found there.

"If the elephants get close to villages, alerts will be sent to the villagers," Chen said. "People should also avoid provoking the elephants, who may be aggressive if they are scared."

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