A Herd Of Elephants has Trekked 500 Kilometers Across China — but no One’s Sure Why

A herd of Asian elephants has embarked on a massive journey across China over the past year and time – but no one is sure why. China’s state-run Xinhua news agency said that since March 2020, 15 wild Asian elephants have moved about 500 kilometers (310 miles) north of the forest in their Yunnan’s Jishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Region. It is unclear where or when this journey will end.

China originally has about 300 wild elephants south of Yunnan Province, but this is the farthest wild elephant has traveled from the region. One male was previously freed from the swarm and is now 12 kilometers (more than 7 miles) away in a forest in Anning, which means the flock has shrunk to 14 people. Researchers have described the migration as “unprecedented” in China. It is assumed that the search for food and territories is driving their movement, but some believe that this journey has lost their livestock.

“They are in a state of disappearance,” Becky Shu Chen, a conservationist at the Zoological Society in London, told VC World News. “They don’t even know where they are going. They are only moving to relatively open areas where there is food for them.” On June 9, Trunked passengers were found in a rapid jolt just outside UC City. Elephants have unknowingly caught the attention of many on Chinese social media about their 15-minute fame.

However, not everyone welcomed the travelers; The elephants raided local farms and even entered a distillery store to get drunk, causing one of them to fall asleep and fall behind the rest of the group. According to Xinhua, the herd was involved in 421 cases of “destruction” and damaged 56 hectares of land, causing at least 6.8 million yuan ($1.07 million) in damage. Keeping an eye on this lumbering crew is no small feat. To monitor their movements and manage their migration away from the built-up areas, China has deployed roadblocks, 14 aircraft drones, 510 people and more than 110 vehicles.