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Saturday, February 24, 2024

China’s migrating elephant herd heads further west

The wandering wild Asian elephant herd that has caught global attention has headed a little further west after taking a good rest in the outskirts of the south-western Chinese city of Kunming.

migrating elephant herd
The herd of wandering wild Asian elephants in Eshan County, Yuxi City, southwest China’s Yunnan Province. Photo credit: Xinhua/Hu Chao

The herd of 14 elephants entered Shijie Township in the city of Yuxi at about 11:15 p.m. Tuesday.

They were seen taking a rest in Yuxi at about 11 a.m. Wednesday, according to the headquarters in charge of monitoring their migration.

A male elephant, which broken free from the herd, was now about 12 km away in a forest in Anning, a county-level city under Kunming administration. All the elephants were safe and sound.

The herd travelled approximately 500 km from their forest home in Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture before reaching Kunming, the provincial capital of Yunnan, late last Wednesday.

For over a month, authorities have sent police to escort the herd, evacuated roads to facilitate their passage and used food to distract them from entering densely populated areas.

Asian elephants are under A-level state protection in China, where they are mostly found in Yunnan.

Thanks to enhanced protection efforts, the wild elephant population in the province had grown to about 300, up from 193 in the 1980s.

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