China and Laos reached an agreement to protect wild endangered Asian Elephants that live along the border between the two countries, during their annual meeting, held currently in Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture, Yunnan Province, Xinhua reported yesterday.
According to the Yunnan Provincial Forestry Department, the two countries agreed on four items -- to promulgate animal protection knowledge to villagers; to tighten controls over hunting guns and their activity; to plan an agenda for cross-border protection and to apply for international funds; to arrange next year's annual meeting in Laos -- designated to protect the elephants residing in nature reserves around the border.
Asian Elephants, each on average 3.2 meters high and over five tons in weight, have been reduced to a single herd of less than 400 in China in current years. The figure puts the mammal, the hugest by size on Asian land, under the nation's grade-one protection.
According to the Smithsonian National Zoological Park, the world has approximately 30,000 Asian Elephants in total still living in the forests of southern and southeastern Asia. The big animal, which spends 18 to 20 hours a day seeking about 300 kilograms of forage in less populated forests and wetlands, is not very adaptable to dramatic climate changes.
The elephant has been listed as one of the species protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), an agreement signed among 80 countries in 1973.
(China.org.cn by Wu Jin, February 14, 2008)