Beijing (AP) — A year-long trip to urbanized southwestern China, farm raids, and even food retirement homes, finally home to herds of elephants that have captivated locals and people around the world. Seems to have returned to.
Municipalities have deployed trucks, workers and drones to monitor elephants, evacuated roads for safe passage, and used food to keep elephants away from densely populated areas. Despite entering the village and approaching Kunming, the capital of Yunnan, no animals or humans have been injured.
On Sunday night, 14 Asian elephants of various sizes and ages will be guided across the Yunnan River, paving the way for a return to the nature reserve that lived in Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture.
The elephant left the reserve for unknown reasons over a year ago and walked more than 500 km (300 miles) north. After arriving in the suburbs of Kunming, the center of business and tourism, they turned south again, but still far from the reserve.
After that, one male who left the herd calmed down and returned to the reserve.
The Asian elephant is one of the most protected animals in China, and its population has grown to about 300, despite its habitat shrinking due to agricultural expansion and urban growth.
As of Sunday night, the herd was still in Motoe County, about 200 km (125 miles) away from the reserve.
However, the National Forestry and Grassland Authority said the animals were in “appropriate habitat” after crossing the river.
Herd progress is important, according to a notice issued by the state government, and efforts to quickly return elephants to their natural habitat will continue.