A herd of wild elephants is making its way through China’s south-western Yunnan province, causing mass destruction along the way. The elephants traveling through China sparked social media confusion after a video of them traveling through a residential area went viral. The hashtag #WhyElephantsTrekkingNorth has been trending on the Chinese social media app Weibo, and local media is covering the elephants’ journey.
— CCTV Asia Pacific (@CCTVAsiaPacific) June 1, 2021
The herd of elephants consists of 15 elephants, six female adults, three male adults, three sub-adults, and three calves. According to Chinese wildlife authorities, there were 16 wild elephants to start in March 2020.
In November, the elephants arrived in Pu’er in Yunnan. One elephant gave birth, settled in for five months, and then on April 16, 2021, they started their journey. A week later, two elephants left the group while the other 15 continued north.
The wild elephants were last seen making their way to the provincial capital of Kunming, which has a population of seven million. Attention is now focused on keeping them out of the city, according to The Guardian.
The destruction, which includes eaten cornfields and smashed barns, is estimated to cost at least 6.8m yuan ($1.07m). The Yunnan Provincial Forestry and Grassland Administration is trying to prevent the elephants from going any further north and help the herd get back to their original habitat.