International

Watch | China's wandering elephants

Over a year ago, a herd of elephants in China had undertaken what is now a 500-kilometre trek from their home in a wildlife reserve in mountainous southwest Yunnan province.

The herd recently arrived at the doorstep of a densely populated Chinese city, Kunming. Scientists say this is the furthest any of the wild elephants there have travelled from the habitat.

The 15-member herd's ongoing journey has been chronicled by major global media houses. Clips of the herd's various antics shot on drones and urban security cameras have been popular on social media.

The group was originally numbered at sixteen animals, but the government says two returned home and a baby was born during the walk. The herd is now composed of six female adults, three male adults, three juveniles and three calves.

While no animals or people have been hurt during the herd's travels, reports put damage to crops at more than $1 million. The elephants have been damaging buildings and poking their trunks through doors and windows.

The Asian elephant is an endangered species and is given top level protection in China which only has about 300 wild elephants.

The government has ordered people to stay inside and not to gawk at the elephants, use firecrackers or otherwise attempt to scare them away.

So far, passive means have been used to keep the herd of elephants out of urban areas. This includes the parking of trucks and construction equipment to block roads and the use of food drops to lure them away.

A provincial command center was set up to monitor the group and more than 410 emergency response personnel, police personnel, scores of vehicles and 14 drones were deployed to monitor the elephants.


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Printable version | Jul 25, 2021 5:56:39 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/chinas-wandering-elephants/article34819457.ece

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