150,000 evacuations, 25,000 police officers and other emergency workers and 180 tons of food. The now famous herd of Asian elephants from China is back on their way to the nature reserve that left over a year ago, but that did cost a bit.
Meanwhile, the herd is back in the southern province of Yunnan, after a wandering north of the country. The elephants have crossed the Yangtze River and move further south, writes Xinhua state press agency. Crossing the river is seen as the biggest obstacle to the herd. The authorities have used electric fences so that the animals continue to follow the correct route back to ‘home’.
See how the elephants are lured back home here:
Last night, the animals were about 200 kilometres from their reserve. So far, the herd has been around 1300 kilometers. The elephants, who have a protected status in China, had to be lured back with food and were closely monitored and supervised.
During their journey, the elephants did a lot of damage and residents had to be evacuated. The authorities feared it would lead to conflicts with the local population.
The elephants had walked this far in June:
It is unclear why the herd of 14 more elephants left the Yunnan reserve at first. Some experts argue that the herd has an inexperienced leader who led the group away, while others say that the animals were looking for a new shelter.
“The place they lived wasn‘t good enough anymore. As a group, the elephants made the conscious decision that they couldn’t flourish in their old original habitat and therefore left,” said Dirk-Jan Verdonk, director of World Animal Protection earlier to Decceit.
There are some 300 wild Asian elephants living in China.