China’s Wandering Elephants Halt After 300-Mile Trek, Captivating Millions Online

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.

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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.

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A baby elephant is seen sprawled on the back of a sleeping elephant as the animals rest after their 300-mile trek on Monday. Source: Daily Mail

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.

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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.

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The elephants can be seen sleeping in two separate groups as they lay sprawled on the grass after their exhausting journey. Source: Daily Mail
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Naptime! An elephant sleeps with its herd after walking 300 miles across China in a forest near the Xinyang Township. Source: Daily Mail

This protection means the herd will not be destroyed, and wildlife officers are keen to avoid using tranquilizers on the animals.

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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.

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The wandering elephants have captivated the nation, with millions discussing their journey on social media. Source: Daily Mail

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A close-up image shows seven elephants forming a pyramid as they sleep next together in a forest near Kunming on Monday. Source: Daily Mail
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Since beginning their epic journey, the elephants have wandered the streets, broken into barns, and munched their way through farmland, causing an estimated 6.8 million yuan ($1.1 million) worth of damage. 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.

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Roads have been blocked using lorries, while 18 tons of pineapples and corn have been scattered in an attempt to lead the elephants away from the city’s Jinning district. Source: Daily Mail
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Elephants are a protected species in China, meaning the herd will not be destroyed, while wildlife officers are also keen to avoid using tranquilizers on infants. Pictured: The elephants are left to roam through the neighborhood near the Shuanghe Township, Jinning District of Kunming City in southwestern China’s Yunnan Province on June 4. Source: Daily Mail
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The herd of 15 elephants left a trail of destruction as they reached the outskirts of Kunming last week. Source: Daily Mail
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The wild animals have caused mayhem by walking down urban roads, eating farm crops (pictured), and sticking their trunks through residential windows in Kunming, despite officials’ efforts to divert them away from the populated southwestern city. Source: Daily Mail
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The herd has passed through towns and smaller cities along their route – closing down streets (pictured), raiding barns, munching farm crops, and causing damage worth an estimated $1million. Source: Daily Mail
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A herd has been spotted just two miles from the outskirts of Kunming City, home to 7 million people (pictured on May 28). Source: Daily Mail
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Authorities urged residents to avoid contact with the elephants after the herd reached the Jinning district on the edge of Kunming, a city of seven million residents, late on Wednesday night. Pictured: Elephant walks up the driveway to a house. Source: Daily Mail
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Video footage (pictured), taken from the ground and by air by dozens of drones, shows the elephants wreaking havoc as they plowed through residential streets, walked up to people’s driveways and munched on farm crops. Source: Daily Mail
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The elephants were spotted in E’shan county on May 28 (pictured) before migrating even further to the north, sparking fears they could try to enter Kunming as police and wildlife officers race to stop them. Source: Daily Mail
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Experts say it is unclear what caused the herd – three males, six females, three juveniles, and three calves – to migrate but say it is possible that an inexperienced male leader ‘got lost.’ Source: Daily Mail

Watch the video below:

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