Joint wild elephant protection efforts by China and Laos gave impetus to the launch of cross-border wildlife diversity protection work between the two countries in 2006.
Mengla county in the Xishuangbanna Dai autonomous prefecture, Yunnan province, borders three provinces in Laos. Five herds of wild Asian elephants live in the border region"s forests, moving across the border at will.
"Wild elephants have no nationality and they need to be protected under the joint efforts of both countries," said Wang Lifan, director of the Xishuangbanna Natural Reserve"s Shangyong section.
In 2006, China and Laos signed a cooperative agreement on wildlife protection. In 2012, they co-founded a cross-border protection area that covers a forested area of 200,000 hectares along 108 kilometers of border.
Xishuangbanna Natural Reserve has five sections included in the cross-border protection area, including the Shangyong section. Although set up to protect elephants, the protection work also covers other wildlife.
Statistics from Xishuangbanna Natural Reserve show that it has eight types of forest with about 130 mammal species, 456 species of birds, 79 kinds of reptiles and 100 species of fish.
Apart from wild elephants, gaur, lesser mouse-deer and northern white-cheeked gibbon are all rare species that, in China, are found only in Yunnan.
"Those endangered species can be more frequently seen in recent years thanks to the joint protection," said Li Zhongyun, a forest patrol officer who works in the Shangyong section.
His 12-member team patrols the forests for seven hours once every three days. He said the cross-border wildlife protection effort had also given people living in the border region more opportunities to communicate and exchange their farming and commercial experiences.
Xishuangbanna Natural Reserve has donated several digital devices to Laos, including printers, scanners and 60 infrared cameras for spotting wild animals.
The two countries are also strengthening wildlife supervision work near the border and have conducted regular joint patrols to protect endangered species.
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