New drone footage: China’s famous nomadic elephants may be heading home

elephants china

China’s famous herd of wandering elephants is showing a trend of returning south. We now have new aerial footage that supports a preliminary returning trend. Meanwhile, another drone video released by Chinese authorities shows adorable baby elephants engaging in a playful wrestling match!

Though it has been 15 months since the nomadic herd bid farewell to their original habitat in a nature reserve in China’s Yunnan Province, in the past one month, the elephants have captured global attention.

With a task force of 360 personnel, 76 cars, and nine drones keeping tabs on their progress around the clock, aerial footage of the animals is keeping netizens hooked. From watching the authorities struggle to keep the elephants away from populated areas to observing the herd taking a nap together in a forest, the herd’s antics have made for one binge-worthy video after another.

In the latest installment of drone videos, the headquarters in charge of monitoring the elephant migration note that the herd may be contemplating to head back home. However, determining the herd’s specific routes will need further research, officials say.

If that is indeed the case, it would be awesome. That’s because if the elephants were to continue their epic road trip further north, the environment would become more and more unsuitable for them. The herd is already some 300 miles away from its home.

In recent days, the elephants have been moving back and forth within Yimen and Eshan counties, posing great challenges for on-site command and coordination of their migration. On Monday, a total of 186 people were mobilized, 4,106 local residents were evacuated, and 100 kg of food was provided to the elephants.

Authorities also share that a male elephant, which strayed about two weeks ago, is some 15 miles away from the herd now. All 15 elephants are safe and continue to enjoy A-level state protection in China.

The frequency of wild Asian elephants leaving their protected areas and intruding into the nearby villages has increased in the recent years. Some experts view this as a result of the degradation of their original habitats as well as changes in dietary habits of the species.

While the behemoth mammals used to feed on sugarcane and corn earlier, now pineapples and dragon fruits planted by local farmers have become their favorite.

For this specific herd, Chen Fei, director of the Asian elephant research center under the National Forestry and Grassland Administration, is hopeful that with the help and efforts of humans, the elephants will soon return to their suitable habitats in the south.

And now, let’s watch the baby elephants of the herd engage in an adorable play fight:

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