BEIJING (AP) — An elephant herd that fascinated locals and people around the world by making a yearlong journey into urbanized southwest China, raiding farms and even a retirement home for food, appears finally to be headed home.
Local authorities have deployed trucks, workers and drones to monitor the elephants, evacuated roads for them to pass safely and used food to steer them away from populated areas. Despite their entrance into villages and a close approach to the Yunnan provincial capital of Kunming, no animals or humans have been injured.
The 14 Asian elephants of various sizes and ages were guided across the Yuanjiang river in Yunnan on Sunday night and a path is being opened for them to return to the nature reserve where they lived in the Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture.
The elephants left the reserve more than a year ago for unknown reasons and roamed more than 500 kilometers (300 miles) north. After reaching the outskirts of Kunming, a center for business and tourism, they turned south again, but still are far from the reserve.