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Graphic shows the route of China’s herd of wandering elephants.
GN41501NL

NATUUR

China's zwervende olifanten zijn wellicht op weg naar huis

By Ninian Carter

June 23, 2021 - A herd of wandering elephants whose travels are being followed by millions worldwide, may be heading home after a 500km trek.

A 14-strong herd of wild elephants, which mysteriously left a nature reserve in southern China last year, has started to meander southwards again after spending months journeying north.

The herd, which normally lives in the forests of southern Yunnan's Xishuangbanna National Nature Reserve, reached the outskirts of Kunming city, in China's southeast, on June 2, causing the authorities to leap into action. Police have been trying to escort the animals away from populated areas by closing roads, evacuating residents and using food to distract them.

Their efforts appear to have paid off, with the herd now seemingly spending three weeks looping right around and heading back south, the way they came.

Scientists are baffled as to why the herd is behaving in this way, with elephant experts speculating that man-made changes - such as the replacement of small family farms with large, appetising plantations - may be the cause.

To date, the elephants have caused over a million dollars in damage and created a host of chaotic, slapstick situations like breaking into kitchens, poking their trunks through nursing home windows, and getting drunk on fermented grain.

During their exploits, the protected animals have been followed by hundreds of police officers, more than 60 emergency vehicles and a fleet of drones providing media coverage to a captive audience across China and beyond.

Sources
PUBLISHED: 23/06/2021; STORY: Graphic News; PICTURES: Associated Press
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