The curious journey of a herd of 15 Asian elephants that has been roaming China for a year has generated great expectation among the country’s authorities and experts, who are trying to find out what reason pushed these pachyderms to leave their natural habitat last year and travel about 500 kilometers in the province of Yunnan (southwest).
The movements of these animals through large areas are common, as they move in search of food, he explained to the newspaper The New York Times Ahimsa Campos-Arceiz, Principal Investigator of the Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, specializing in elephants. This was the reason why his odyssey had gone almost unnoticed for months.
It wasn’t until last April that investigators and Chinese government officials began to realize how far i had come this herd. Last week, images of elephants walking through a residential area began to circulate on social networks, which caused great interest in the local media and aroused a stir among the population, who began to wonder why they were traveling.
The passage of these animals through populations has also mobilized the Chinese authorities, who launched a device to minimize the contact of these pachyderms with humans.
🇨🇳🐘 Measures taken to keep migrating #elephants away from residential zones in #Yunnan.
🇨🇳🐘 #Yunnan #野象Recently, the “tour group” has moved all the way north, and the relevant departments have taken measures to prevent public safety hazards caused by elephant herd migration and ensure the safety of human elephants.
by Wu Ge via CGTN pic.twitter.com/DDfH26nY2b
— CCTV Asia Pacific (@CCTVAsiaPacific) June 1, 2021
For this, the monitoring team of these pachyderms has tried to guide the animals by creating barriers and using tons of food like bananas, pineapples, and bait corn, to keep animals away from inhabited areas.
According to state media, the journey of these elephants started in March 2020, when a group of 16 elephants set out from the Xishuangbanna National Nature Reserve, on China’s southwest border with Laos, heading north to the city of Pu’er.
They got there in November, when a female elephant gave birth to a baby, which is why the herd stayed five months in that place. Later, on April 16, the pachyderms resumed their march and a week later, two elephants left the group, causing the 15 animals remaining they continued their journey north.
However, the arrival of these animals to population areas has not always been well received, as they have caused a lot of destruction, eating entire fields of corn and smashing barns, reports The Guardian.
While they continue to investigate why this group of elephants decided to leave their home, the Chinese authorities have asked citizens to stay away of these animals and reminded them that they can be dangerous.
Despite having reduced its natural space due to deforestation, the population of elephants in China has grown in recent years, going from about 200 that there were decades ago to 300 specimens of Asian elephantsaccording to the state agency Xinhua.