CHINA / SOCIETY
Stray wild Asian elephant herd continues heading northwest
Published: Jun 16, 2021 12:41 PM
Aerial photo taken on June 6, 2021 shows wild Asian elephants in Jinning District of Kunming, southwest China's Yunnan Province. A herd of wild Asian elephants have made a temporary stop along their migration in the outskirts of the southwestern Chinese city of Kunming, authorities said Monday. Of the 15 elephants, one male has broken free from the herd and is currently about 4 km to the northeast of the group, according to the on-site command tracking the elephants.(Photo: Xinhua)

Aerial photo taken on June 6, 2021 shows wild Asian elephants in Jinning District of Kunming, southwest China's Yunnan Province. A herd of wild Asian elephants have made a temporary stop along their migration in the outskirts of the southwestern Chinese city of Kunming, authorities said Monday. Of the 15 elephants, one male has broken free from the herd and is currently about 4 km to the northeast of the group, according to the on-site command tracking the elephants.(Photo: Xinhua)



From 6 pm Monday to 6 pm Tuesday, the stray wild Asian elephant herd in Southwest China's Yunnan Province travelled nine kilometers while detouring northwest, moving a distance of 1.3 km. The male elephant that previously left the group is located northeast of the herd at a distance of 19.1 km, the Yunnan government reported on Tuesday night. 

The elephant herd is currently wandering around in Yuxi city, which borders the provincial capital Kunming, which has a population of 8 million, while the lone elephant is in the suburbs of Kunming, the government said. All 15 elephants are within the monitoring area. The overall situation is stable and no human-elephant conflict has occurred.

The elephant herd and the lone elephant entered farmland to feed and then concealed themselves in the forest area, making traffic diversion, safety precautions and monitoring extremely difficult, local government said. Local authorities have sent police to escort the herd, evacuated roads to facilitate its passage, and used food to distract it from entering densely populated areas.

The local government has dispatched a total of 96 emergency disposal and police personnel, 196 dump trucks, excavators and other engineering vehicles, 12 drones, 68 emergency vehicles, and has evacuated 1,074 households and 3,420 people. Over 1.5 tons of food were given to the elephants on Tuesday alone. 

Starting from their original habitat, the Xishuangbanna National Nature Reserve in Yunnan's southernmost prefecture, on April 16, the elephants have wandered more than 600 kilometers north. It's the furthest that a herd of wild elephants from Xishuangbanna has ever travelled from its habitat.

Experts say it is unlikely that the elephants will return to their original habitat anytime soon, as the herd has now moved too far from it, and Yunnan has entered the rainy season making it difficult to cross rivers. 


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