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China offers hungry elephants "Dinner Halls"

Chinese officials hope to lure hungry wild elephants away from farmland by offering "dinner halls" with banana and sugar on the menu, state media reported.
Last year three villagers were killed by elephants around nature reserves in Xishuangbanna in the southwest province of Yunnan, Xinhua news agency reported. Crops belonging to 12,000 families were also destroyed.

In April, the Yunnan province government set aside 4 million yuan (US$500,000) to compensate farmers for crops lost to hungry elephants, Xinhua said.

Wildlife officials are planning "dinner halls" of banana plantations and sugarcane planted several kilometres from villages to entice the animals away, Xinhua said. So far, 70 ha (170 acres) have been set aside.

Twenty years ago, Xishuangbanna had only 80 wild elephants compared to some 300 today.

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