Escaped Elephants Leave A Trail of Destruction in China: Damage Goes to Million
A herd of 15 elephants has been on walk-in southwestern China since April. The animals escaped from a nature reserve and, in the meantime, covered a distance of 500 kilometres.
On their journey, they destroyed crops and barns. The damage amounts to almost a million euros.
They leave a trail of destruction, these wild Asian elephants, a protected species in China. They broke up and left Xishuangbanna Nature Reserve in Yunnan Province; why that’s not entirely clear.
Their journey has been closely watched ever since. Hundreds of people have been mobilized to ensure public safety. They try to steer the animals in a direction with food and roadblocks with trucks.
Yesterday, Yunnan authorities said the herd was just 20 kilometres from the provincial capital, Kunming, which is home to millions of people. So far, there have been no casualties, but the 15 elephants have already destroyed 56 hectares of maize and other crops. Last week they also emptied a water tank. The damage is provisionally estimated at 6.8 million yuan or almost 875,000 euros.
The population of wild elephants in Yunnan consists of about three hundred individuals and has increased from 193 in the 1980s. In recent years, there have been more reports of elephants seeking the inhabited world for food. According to local authorities, this has to do with replacing plants they normally eat with non-edible varieties during forest expansions.