Yunnan provincial officials have begun plans to construct an elephant sanctuary in Pu’er city, in a desperate attempt to alleviate ‘human-elephant conflict,’ as the China Daily has so elegantly phrased. The article goes on to make the province sound as though elephant-related catastrophes are pretty much par-for-the-course when living in Yunnan.
The sanctuary, inexplicably called a ‘canteen,’ is described in one of the Daily’s most cringe-worthy pieces in weeks:
A 3,900-mu (260-hectare) “canteen” for elephants, [will offer] the animals bamboo and bananas in order to ease human-elephant conflict. […]
Humans and elephants do not always live in harmony when they share a habitat. In 2012, elephants were involved in 231 incidents resulting in damage to human property and have even attacked and killed villagers, said Li Yichuan, head of Simao District’s forestry bureau. […]
In 2011, residents received 3.24 million yuan ($0.53 million) in compensation for damage caused by elephants. In 2012, the figure went up to 4.2 million yuan,” said Li.
Li added that the government hopes to cultivate the elephants’ favorite plants in the “canteen” in order to attract the wild animals to the area and away from villages.