Saturday, 01. November 2014
30. 07. 14. - 15:00
Chinese conservationists are hailing victory after they managed to get four elephants addicted to heroin to go clean after Triad drug dealers gave them heroin laced bananas.
And after putting the elephants through cold turkey, the conservationists said that all four have now been allowed to rejoin wild elephant herds and have become the same as all the other members of their extended elephant families.
The elephants are used by Chinese drug gangs as heavyweight aids to get them to smuggle the drug in big quantities across the China-Myanmar border. They drug them up as it makes them easy to train and once addicted to the heroin laced bananas, the elephants quickly become desperate for the next fix and will obey the commands of the gang members.
Chen Jiming of the local Asian elephant breeding centre that has been working to help the elephants kick the habit at the Wild Elephant Valley in Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture, in south-west China's Yunnan Province, said: "It has been a long battle but we can safely say that they are now reintegrated into elephant society and in some cases even have families of their own."
He added "There are actually more elephants now in the wild since China made it a crime punishable by death to hunt them. But we haven't increased the penalties for people who turn them into drug addicts by feeding them heroin laced bananas. This is also an important issue that needs to be tackled."
He said that they had been allowed to use methadone to give the elephants as a substitute for heroin and had slowly reduced the amount given over the course of a year until they were declared clean.
He said: "The elephants need at least five times more that a human being would need at the start and then we slowly reduced that until they no longer needed it. But it is every bit as hard for the elephants to go through the cold turkey regime as it is for humans."
After quitting the habit, the four elephants now live in the forests of Yunnan Province in south-western China which is not only a protected area but is also home to another 250 wild Asiatic elephants.
The elephants which had been carrying drugs were seized by police on different occasions, with the first reported incident of a banana drugged elephant in in 2005. They were almost uncontrollable once they started to come off the drug, said keepers.
Conservationists adopted the same method to win the elephants off the drug as is used with humans because until then they had no experience in treating elephant drug addiction.
Halloween At The Zoo
Pumpkin pie might be the order of the day for people this Halloween but now zoo animals are also getting in on the act.
Baby Naked Mole Rats Born In Vienna
With their pink hairless bodies and fangs for front teeth, these baby naked mole rats were never going to win any cuteness contests at Schonbrunn Zoo in the Austrian capital Vienna.
Jihad Girls Gunpoint Retraction Of Desire To Go Home
Austrian anti-terrorism police believe that an interview given to a French magazine allegedly with one of the two teenage girls who fled to Syria to join in the jihad was probably carried out at gunpoint.
Get Shorty As Confused Bald Ibis Gets Lost Again
A rare bald Ibis that seems to have a different sense of direction to her fellow birds has once again had to be rescued after getting stuck trying to find a different route to the southern Italian feeding ground.
Alpine Trains Venture Into Space As The Final Frontier
Austria’s national railway line the OeBB has raised eyebrows after offering themed toilets including one that is supposed to "look and smell like outer space".
MEP caught In Brit papers Fraud Probe Jailed
A corrupt MEP caught by a British newspaper offering to propose amendments to EU laws in exchange for 100,000 euros a year has been given a three-year-jail term.
Vienna Jihad Girls Want To Come Home
The two Austrian teenage girls who became ‘poster girls’ for the jihad in Syria are now desperate to come home after getting completely disillusioned with their new lifestyles.
There was a festival atmosphere as Bundespresident Heinz Fischer opened Vienna's new Hauptbahnhof Friday morning.
Apple Truck Causes Traffic Jam
When 24 tonnes of apples are catapulted across a road it can only mean a jam.
Farmer Cleared Over Wolf Shooting
Furious animal rights campaigners have accused an Austrian farmer of lying after he shot dead a wolf that he claimed he thought was a fox.
The most popular stories –
last 7 days
|Jihad Girls Gunpoint Retraction Of Desire To Go Home|
|Baby Naked Mole Rats Born In Vienna|
|Dim Romeo Burns Down College During Failed Proposal|
|Halloween At The Zoo|
|Brit That Saved Kids From Nazis Gets Top Honour|
Why suffer in silence. Let off steam by letting our readers share your troubles. File your complaints about anything and everything here.
Our ombudsman David Rogers will try and help solve some of the problems from lazy civil servants through to incompetent companies – and at the very least the worst transgressors will end up in our weekly special report.