Footage of a herd of wild elephants have been captured on camera taking a breather from a 500km trek in China’s south-west Yunnan province.
According to AFP and ABC.net, Chinese state television has launched a 24-hour live feed of the herd as the country remains on watch following the 15 elephants’ epic – and sometimes damaging – trek through homes, barns and crops in Yunnan province.
The elephants usually live in the biggest tropical forest in China, the Xishuangbanna reserve that borders Laos and Myanmar.
On Monday, 7 June 2021, footage from state broadcaster CCTV filmed shows the herd, tired from their adventures, curled up in a forest on the outskirts of the provincial capital Kunming. At one point in the footage, a calf on its back stirs itself, trunk and feet sprawled in the air, before hauling itself onto a sleeping adult and nodding off again.
The adventures of the huge mammals have captivated the nation, with hundreds of millions taking to social media to discuss their journey.
The elephants have been closely monitored by authorities as they lumber through lush countryside. More than 400 people have been mobilised to ensure public safety and dozens of drones are now following their every step.
Convoys of trucks have lined roads in a bid to keep the herd away from densely populated areas, including the more than eight million people who live in nearby Kunming.
The local government has warned villagers not to leave corn or salt out in their yards that might attract the animals. It has also evacuated residents in the elephants’ path and distributed more than two tons of feed to the scavenging herd.
Experts are unsure why the group first migrated away from their original habitat.
Elephants are given the top level of protection in China, reports 9News.com, allowing their numbers to steadily increase even as their natural habitat shrinks, and requiring farmers and others exercise maximum restraint when encountering them.