On their way, they created dangerous traffic situations and ate food and crops. For several months, local authorities have withdrawn all stations to limit the damage caused to the animals as much as possible. But despite trucks, roadblocks, and dozens of employees and experts providing bait, the elephants could not be moved to safety.
Now, after more than a year roaming the southwestern part of China, it appears the animals are finally on their way to the forests where they once began their ‘wild journey’ of nearly 1,000 kilometers (!). The farthest point the animals reached was 500 kilometers north of their original habitat. The animals moved to the outskirts of the Chinese city of Kunming, but decided to turn south from that moment on.
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Finally, the herd crosses the Yuanjiang River. So a return to urban areas seems out of the question.
On Sunday night, the herd – made up of 14 elephants of various ages and sizes – was guided across a bridge over the Yuanjiang River. As a result, the road is finally open to return to the reserve they originally lived in and to the exclusion of a return to urban areas. The animals still have about 200 kilometers to walk to their habitat.
Due to the expansion of agriculture and urbanization in China, protected Asian elephants – there are only about 300 left – are getting less and less living space in the country. According to experts, this explains the reason for the “animal picnic.”
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