The giant animal, monitored by hundreds of drone-backed police officers, arrived in Kunming, southern Yunnan, earlier this week, about 300 miles away from the nature reserve, according to state media.
Adam Chan was hired to deliver corn and pineapple to an elephant, on average 11 feet tall and weighing 11,000 pounds.
He said what he saw was wonderful.
“I saw them break corn apart in their trunks,” he told NBC News on messaging and social media apps. WeChat..
“They are much more lively than what I saw at the zoo. It felt as if there was a sacred aura around them,” he said.
The news of their migration spread throughout China, became a hot topic online, and many expressed surprise and charm, but experts said that this rare journey was a human invasion of the elephant’s natural habitat. Warned that it may be showing the unavoidable harmful consequences of.
The flock arrived in Kunming on June 2, despite police attempts to lure them home. Before sleeping in the nearby forest, the animals took time to cross busy roads, eat, and stumbled upon irrigation canals.
Many netizens were in awe after the social media epidemic in late May, but some complained about the destruction left behind them.
Jason Khao, the owner of the Yunnan mining company, whose feed was delivered by the government, said he didn’t think the damage they caused was serious.
“Elephants are a sacred animal that can bring good luck and peace to Chinese culture, so I’m very happy to see them,” he said.
Chan and Kao refused to provide their name because they had not been given permission to speak to the media by local authorities and were afraid of retaliation. Instead, they asked to be identified by their “American” name.
The herd first caught the attention of outsiders when it left the house on the border of the Xishuangbanna National Nature Reserve in southwestern Yunnan in March 2020. Myanmar And Laos.. According to the state news agency Xinhua, the calf was born in November and two elephants split from the remaining elephants in April 2021.
Officials and experts say they don’t know why the flock is moving.
According to Tammy Matson, a zoologist and researcher at the University of Rwanda and director of Matson and Ridley Safari, elephants can travel long distances if they do not have enough habitat to meet their needs. ..
“Some people may be urged to leave to access these resources to avoid competition,” she said.
Xinhua reports that the population of Asian elephants in Yunnan has surged from 180 in the 1980s to 300 in 2021. Therefore, as the numbers grow, subgroups may have begun to search for new habitats, get lost, and continue their journey. , Manager of WWF’s Wildlife Conservation Team, an international non-governmental organization specializing in wildlife conservation.
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Netizens have many theories as to why elephants are moving and condemning global warming and deforestation.
Since Asian elephants live in forests and grasslands, the deforestation rate of Xishuangbanna, which averaged 4.1 square miles per year in 2010, may have contributed to herd migration.
Still, long-distance trekking is not unknown to animals, and similar migrations have occurred in India and Sri Lanka, according to Raman Sukmar, a professor of ecology at the Institute of Indian Sciences in Bangalore, India.
He warned that these trips could adversely affect the health of the herd.
“I think the elephant’s stress level will start to rise because the elephant is in a completely different kind of terrain,” he said. “Very densely populated … navigating the city is not so easy.”
For Hannah Mambi, an assistant professor at the University of Hong Kong’s Faculty of Biological Sciences, it is important to address the root cause of their departure. Otherwise, this behavior may be repeated.
China Central Television News Agency Captured Signs of a second herd of elephants trying to move across the river in Xishuangbanna.
In the meantime, those who see the elephant say the experience is more than memorable.
“Before this encounter, I was interested in animals. Now I’m volunteering to join an animal rights organization to protect giant creatures,” says Chan.