For over a year now, a Chinese elephant herd has been journeying through the southern part of China. However, their intentions are unknown, and now it seems like it will always be unknown. Their journey has probably been the longest trip ever made by Chinese elephants. But it seems like it is over, and they are coming back home.
The Chinese Elephant herd had 14 members. On 8th August, officials guided them across Yunnan province’s Yuanjiang River. Currently, they reside in a habitat that is suitable for them. The National Grassland and Forestry Administration conveyed the news to the Associated Press.
The Wondrous Herd Of Chinese Elephants
Reuters reported that the Chinese Elephants had first caught the public’s attention when they left the Nature Reserve called Xishuangbanna National. That was their home until March 2020. The herd had 16 members when starting out, and had reached Puer which was nearby. Then, in 2021 April, 15 elephants embarked on the journey again. After that, over 1,300 km were traversed by the elephant herd. They visited Honghe and Yuxi cities. In June, they even reached the borders of Kunming, Yuan’s capital.
On their journey, the herd had been given food from farms, as well as a home to retire to, says AP. A calf was born to the herd. The Guardian reported the birth of the new member. However, a male had gotten lost from the herd. He was then tranquilized and transported back to the starting reserve, without the other members. However, the entire journey did not involve any harm or injury to any animals or humans.
Finally, a committee created for the purpose used artificial roads, baits, and electric fencing to guide them back towards home. To make the journey as seamless as possible, over 150,000 residents were evacuated. Authorities have also paid out over $771,000 in insurance claims.
No one really knows why the herd of Chinese elephants left in the first place. But conservationists believe that habitat fragmentation will cause more such interactions between elephants and humans. In China, Asian elephants are closely protected. Their numbers have increased to about 300 even with all the encroachment by humans.