In April of last year, a herd of 17 elephants escaped China’s Xishuangbanna Reserve and headed north, making their way through the towns and villages.
These elephants escape Xishuangbanna Biosphere Reserve, located in Southwest China on the border to Myanmar and Laos and comprises the largest tropical forest in China. It boasts 90% of China’s wild elephant population within its 240ha dedicated reserve. Yet for some reason, 17 elephants decided to leave the reserve and travel north
China is home to an estimated 300 wild elephants and is a protected species in China. So since their escape, the government has mobilised 510 people, evacuated residents to make way, and their movement is being closely followed by drones that broadcast their journey live on Chinese television and have caused a craze online, and these elephants are now becoming world-famous.
Throughout this escapade, two elephants have fallen out after becoming intoxicated when finding alcohol in a house and being too inebriated to continue. These animals have caused quite the inconvenience, causing roadblocks, property destruction and breaking into barns for food. Authorities are attempting to guide the herd by laying out food and blocking roads.
Regardless of this inconvenience, The Asian elephant is a protected species in China and authorities are allowing the herd to freely roam. Shen Qingzhang, a biologist at the Institute of ecology at Xishuangbanna says that this is the first time that this has occurred. There is a lot of speculation online as to why this herd is migrating but Qingzhang notes that this needs to be studied further.
On June 2 2021, the elephants entered Kunming city, a metropolis of 6 million people and continued to roam the streets, 500 km from the Xishuangbanna Biosphere Reserve. After a night in the town, the elephants left the city and settled down for a nap.
Photo Credits: Xinhua News Agency