Early warning system prevents human-elephant conflicts in China's Yunnan
KUNMING, June 13 (Xinhua) -- As of Monday, over 10,000 early warnings have been sent to villages, helping ward off potential human-elephant conflicts in the major wildlife habitat in Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture, southwest China's Yunnan Province.
Launched in August 2020, the early warning system monitors any presence of wild Asian elephants near the local villages surrounding the Xishuangbanna National Nature Reserve, known for its well-preserved rainforest ecosystem.
With the help of 600 infrared cameras and 177 intelligent broadcasting sets, the system can cover the 38 areas where the wild species frequently appear. As of Monday, the system had sent 10,849 early warnings, with more than 2.69 million pictures captured by its infrared cameras, said Tan Xuji, head of the Asian elephant monitoring center with the reserve's scientific research institute.
Since the establishment of the system, no human-elephant conflicts have been reported in the surrounding areas of the reserve, Tan added.
The system uses artificial intelligence (AI) image recognition technology to identify the wildlife accurately. The entire process from capturing images of the elephants to sending early warnings only takes about 15 seconds, according to Tan.
Wild Asian elephants migrate out of the reserve around April every year to search for more food, which coincides with the farming season of the nearby villages. In order to better safeguard the work and life of the locals, the reserve built the early warning system to avoid unpleasant human-wildlife conflicts.
The Asian elephant, the continent's largest land animal, is under top-level protection in China. The species is mainly scattered in Yunnan's Xishuangbanna, Pu'er and Lincang. Thanks to intensified environmental and wildlife protection efforts, its population in the country has grown to over 300.