China’s wandering elephants may finally be heading home

An elephant herd that fascinated locals and people around the world by making a year-long journey into urbanised southwest China, raiding farms and even a retirement home for food, appears to finally be headed home.

Local authorities have deployed trucks, workers and drones to monitor the elephants, evacuated roads for them to pass safely and used food to steer them away from populated areas. Despite their entrance into villages and a close approach to the Yunnan provincial capital of Kunming, no animals or humans have been injured.

LIVE UPDATES: Potential for Moderna to be used to vaccinate teenagers

READ MORE: China elephant herd take adorable nap after 500 kilometre trek

The 14 Asian elephants of various sizes and ages were guided across the Yuanjiang river in Yunnan last night and a path is being opened for them to return to the nature reserve where they lived in the Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture.

The elephants left the reserve more than a year ago for unknown reasons and roamed more than 500 kilometres north. After reaching the outskirts of Kunming, a centre for business and tourism, they turned south again, but still are far from the reserve.

One male that separated from the herd was subsequently tranquilised and returned to the reserve.

Asian elephants are among the most highly protected animals in China and their population has grown to around 300, even while their habitat has shrunk because of expanded farming and urban growth.

READ MORE: China's wandering elephants becoming international stars

As of last night, the herd was still in Yuanjiang County, approximately 200 kilometres from the reserve.

However, the National Forestry and Grassland Administration said the animals were in a “suitable habitat” after crossing the river.

A notice issued by provincial government said the herd's progress was significant and it would continue to work on getting the elephants back in their natural habitat soon.

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *