Thursday, 29. January 2015
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.
First Images Of Eurovision Stage
These are the first images of the design for the Eurovision Song Contest stage unveiled in the Austrian capital Vienna which is the home of last year's winner Conchita Wurst.
Russian Mafia Boss Nabbed At Vienna Railway Station
A Russian mobster wanted for a string of brutal murders was arrested in the gentile Austrian capital Vienna when commandos swooped as he went to buy a train ticket.
Teen Girls Arrested After Offering Themselves To IS Fighters
Austrian officials who recently cracked down on terrorism by arresting several people believed to be recruiting and fundraising for ISIS have revealed two more teenage girls tried to leave the country to marry terrorist fighters.
Ebola's deadly reach impacts Vienna student
Austria has yet to record its first case of Ebola, but the feared virus has already had a severe impact on the lives of Africans living in Vienna.
Grigorij Sokolov Works His Magic At Vienna Konzerthaus
Whilst the world-famous Wizard of Oz played at the Volksoper, there was another Wizard in the Konzerthaus giving his 16th performance in Vienna!
Penelope Cruz To Play The Ice Cream Killer
The memoirs of the woman dubbed the Ice Cream Killer after she shot dead two ex-lovers before hacking the bodies up with a chainsaw and telling neighbours the noise was a new ice cream machine are due to be turned into a blockbuster with Penelope Cruz playing the lead role.
Kid Left In Coma After Beaten By Teacher For Talking
This is the shocking image of a little Chinese girl before and after she was punished by her teacher - for talking in class.
Freezing Rain Causes Chaos In Central Europe
Freezing weather has arrived in Europe with a vengeance with a layer of ice blanketing parts of Austria, Germany and the Czech Republic and causing traffic chaos.
Holey Smoke As Car Disappears Down Sinkhole
Motorist Wei Hsiao found himself in a hole lot of trouble in China when a giant sinkhole opened up on the road beneath him, swallowing his entire car.
Shock Moment Police Helicopter Explodes On Street
This is the moment a police helicopter exploded into a spinning ball of flame in Chile when a fire truck clipped one of its rotors.
The most popular stories –
last 7 days
|Lorry Carrying Fireworks Explodes After Driver Lights Up Fag|
|Chinese Smoker Plunges Eight Floors And Survives Unharmed|
|Wheely Cruel As Dogs Head Partially Severed By Wire|
|Russian Bear Movie Star Risks Becoming Lion Food|
|Man Used Seat As Toilet Outside A Disco|
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.