China’s famous herd of 15 wild Asian elephants has taken a much-needed rest after a record-breaking 300-mile journey from their nature reserve in Xishuangbanna Dai prefecture.
The elephants’ long trek towards the city of Kunming in Yunnan province has garnered widespread attention online and prompted officials to take measures to prevent them from entering the city.
Watch the video at the end.
Currently resting in Xinyang Township, approximately 55 miles southwest of Kunming, the elephants have come within two miles of the city’s southern suburbs.
To protect both the animals and residents, authorities have blocked roads with trucks and lured the elephants away from the city using 18 tons of pineapples and corn.
Despite efforts to keep them away from populated areas, the elephants have caused chaos by wandering urban streets, raiding farms, and causing an estimated $1.1 million in damage.
They have also visited a car dealership and a retirement home and poked their trunks into residential windows.
In China, elephants receive top-level protection, allowing their numbers to increase even as their natural habitat shrinks.
This protection means the herd will not be destroyed, and wildlife officers are keen to avoid using tranquilizers on the animals.
Instead of aggressive methods, more passive means are employed to keep the elephants out of urban areas, such as blocking roads with trucks and construction equipment and using food drops to lure them away.
Over 410 emergency response personnel and police personnel, along with scores of vehicles and 14 drones, have been deployed to monitor the elephants.
The wandering elephants have captivated the nation, with millions discussing their journey on social media. Source: Daily Mail
Animal experts are unsure of the reasons behind the elephants’ unprecedented migration but speculate that an inexperienced pack leader may have led the group astray.
The herd, which initially consisted of 16 elephants, lost two members who returned home and gained one calf born during the journey.
As authorities continue to monitor the elephants and guide them away from populated areas, the captivating story of their record-breaking trek continues to capture the hearts of millions online.