Dream, career of an elephant doctor in Yunnan

Dream, career of an elephant doctor in Yunnan

When talking about elephants in Yunnan, many people will think of the time when elephants were trekking northwards and finally back to the south of the province. Two years has passed, but Bao Mingwei, an elephant doctor, still has much to say.

Bao created a way to anesthetize elephants through a blowpipe. This is of significance in saving Asian elephants. However, this is just one of the skills he commands. In saving the giant creature, he has learned so much.

Bao went to Xishuangbanna Dai autonomous prefecture from his hometown Qujing city in 2000. He majored beast medicine at first just for a stable income. However, after days of study, he started to love wild animals.

With Bao’s constant learning, many researches on medical treatment for Asian elephants were conducted. He established data base, explored index on elephants’ health and studied on how to breed baby elephants with artificial aids.

“These achievements encouraged me a lot,” said Bao. “Such researches are still going on. We need further study to improve.”

Besides these achievements, Bao also has touching stories with these Asian elephants. For example, the 6-day old baby elephant Yangniu was abandoned by her herd. At that time, no such new born elephant was saved in China. Therefore, Bao and his colleagues have to explore ways to save her. They even moved in Yangniu’s house to protect and observe her around the clock.

Luckily, their hard work paid off. Yangniu survived. This is of significance to the protection of Asian elephants. “I saw her grew up. Now she is about to be 8 years old. I really hope she can live to be 70, even 80,” said Bao.

Bao often ventures into the forest with a camera to capture images of wild elephants foraging or to aid elephants in need. Then he uploads the data into a library. In his perspective, there's still a lot to learn and explore.

Beyond conducting surveys on their dietary habits, he delves into resolving human-elephant conflicts, advancing assisted reproductive technologies, and conquering fatal diseases in baby elephants.

Bao is aware of the limitations of individual effort. Therefore, he consistently imparts his knowledge and skills to the teams he leads. He encourages them to learn and undergo training, fostering more talents for conservation of the Asian elephant.

Having settled in the tropical rainforest for 23 years, Bao has never let his passion for Asian elephants wane. He is determined to devote to this career.