Elephant from China’s wandering herd is taken back to reserve by authorities

The lone elephant had relied on food provided by the command centre monitoring the elephants.

Maroosha Muzaffar
Thursday 08 July 2021 11:08
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<p>FILE. A male elephant that had separated from a herd that had been wandering southwest China has been returned to its nature reserve by authorities. </p>

FILE. A male elephant that had separated from a herd that had been wandering southwest China has been returned to its nature reserve by authorities.

An Asian, male elephant that had been separated from its herd has been taken back to its nature reserve, officials said.

The elephant was anaesthetised and captured in Yuxi city in Yunnan province and sent back to the Xishuangbanna National Nature Reserve — about 280 kilometres away — on Wednesday, a command centre monitoring the elephants said.

It was separated from a herd of 14 other Asian elephants in China that were on what National Geographic described as an “unprecedented journey.” Over the past year, the herd wandered 300 miles away from their home in Xishuangbanna National Nature Reserve towards some unknown destination.

In a social media post, a Yunnan government official said that the lone elephant appeared to be healthy and didn’t have any injuries. It had been on its own for more than a month now.

And as per the Yunnan Provincial Command Center for the Safety and Monitoring of North Migrating Asian Elephants, it had shown no intention to return to its herd.

The remaining 14 elephants — that comprises six adult females, two adult males, and six juveniles — have been moving southward recently but are still far from the reserve, Associated Press reported.

In recent months the herd has been getting closer to the city and has attracted attention when encroaching on human settlements, raiding crops, wandering down streets, and searching for food in small towns. Reports also say that they’ve broken into kitchens and popped into a nursing home. In fact, some have reportedly gotten drunk on fermented grain.

While others have stayed together, one elephant left the herd and has now been on its own for more than a month.

The command and monitoring centre says that they have deployed 20 drones, more than 200 people and dozens of emergency vehicles to monitor the elephants.

The lone elephant had relied on food provided by the command centre and in villagers’ homes, reports said. It had stayed in a “rural neighbourhood very close to a highway and a major railroad since Monday,” the centre said.

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