Elephants move west with one male leaving the herd (China)
June 7, 2021
See link https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202106/1225546.shtml for photos.
The wild herd of Asian elephants that is still wandering around the city of
Kunming, Southwest China's Yunnan Province, moved west on Sunday due to a
thunderstorm. A male elephant left the herd for about 1.5 kilometers.
Two strong rainstorms hit Jinning district on Friday midnight reducing the
herd's activities. The animals huddled together for warmth, according to
infrared footage taken by drones from the Yunnan forest police.
The elephants wandered southward after a northwest march and stopped at 5.5
kilometers west of their previous location.
The local government has sent 440 police officers, 115 emergency response
vehicles and 14 drones to evacuate nearby residents and guarantee that
humans and the giant animals are both safe.
Authorities also urged timely information sharing to ensure highways and
railways are not blocked on Monday, day one of the Gaokao, the national
college entrance exam.
The herd has caught worldwide attention for their long northward journey
that took the herd about 500 kilometers away from their traditional habitat
in the forests of Yunnan's southernmost Xishuangbanna prefecture.
The herd started with 16 members, with two leaving the group and heading
back, and a newborn on the journey.
Experts are still debating on the reasons behind their abnormal migration
to a colder habitat with less food. These elephants feed heavily on crops
rather than on natural vegetation along their way.
The migration has sparked discussions on the protection of wild animals in
a comprehensively way, including the preservation of their habitat and
maintenance of a plantation system and buffer zones. Ecological corridors
for animals to migrate between habitats should also be maintained or
restored, they said.