Herd of Elephants in China Are On the Move!

A herd of elephants in China left their protected habitat and have embarked on an increasingly long journey. The reason for their sudden journey is basically unknown!

15 wild elephants, including 3 calves, have been making their way from south Yunnan Province to its capital Kunming. However, the reason for the massive journey is still relatively mysterious.

Elephants in china on a long journey to populated city

The elephants have been eating up crops and entering populated areas on their massive 300 mile journey. It is unclear why the animals left their habitat to go on such a long trek but, has caught global attention.

Scientists say this is the farthest any wild elephants in the region have travelled from the habitat. It isn’t clear when the animals left home but, authorities became aware when the herd was about 65 miles north of Xishuangbanna in April.

It’s the belief that the herd began as 17. However, two elephants abandoned the pack and turned back. Not only has the pack been travelling through farm lands but also through villages and cities. Some have even been banging on local residents doors.

The Yunnan government has said the group of elephants have “caused trouble 412 times”. One elephant got drunk on fermented grain as well as $1 million worth of crops are destroyed. However, there have been no reports of injuries.

elephants in china
Xishuangbanna to Kunming

Why did the elephants leave?

While it is relatively unknown why the elephants in China left, there are some speculations.

So far the reasoning behind the herds departure is due to habitat loss and potentially and inexperienced leader. Additionally, increasing tension between Yunnan farmers and wild elephants could also explain the long trek.

The elephants traditional diet reached depletion in their habitat, which forced the animals to go after crops. There are theories that similar journeys could ensue if the habitat continues to decrease.

Elephants in china
Asian Elephant | Sergi Ferrete

What will happen to the elephants in china?

Kunming and Yuki authorities have deployed almost 700 officers and 10 tonnes of food to reroute the animals. Trucks and drones are helping to back up and send the elephants on a safer path.

Residents and farmers are being told not to watch or interact with the animals. Additionally, farmers are warned not to frighten or disturb the elephants with firecrackers.

Experts are saying the herd is unlikely to enter Kunming due to the large human population. So far all efforts to turn them around have failed and as a result authorities are trying to find them a suitable place to live. 

Are elephants endangered?

The species of elephant that are journeying through Yunnan are Asian elephants which are endangered. China only has about 300 wild elephants and are all mainly located in the south Yunnan province.

Their population has declined over 50% in the last 75 years. There are several reasons for the endangerment of this species:

  • Deforestation
  • Agricultural Development
  • Conflict between farmers and elephants as they look for space and eat crops close to their habitats
  • Illegal ivory trade
chinese elephants on a journey
Elephant Herd | Alex Azabache

Read More:

New Method to Catch Illegal Ivory Poachers 

Man Buys Sea Turtles From Meat Market and Sets Them Free

Wild Horses Are Making a Rebound From Extinction

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