Migrating elephant herd leave one behind in China

Seven elephants, adults and kids, are lying in the grass close to each other
The Asian elephants are resting, Yunnan province, China, photo: China Daily via Reuters

One elephant of the migrating herd of fifteen Asian elephants in China has left the group. The remaining fourteen were spotted playing in the forest after passing through Yuxi city on Friday. 

According to China’s state media, one elephant had strayed 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) away from the group in recent days.

Since April, six female adult elephants, three male adults, three young adults, and three cubs have traveled over 500 kilometers from their home, the Xishuangbanna National Nature Reserve in Yunnan province.

Habitat destroyed
The space available for China’s last remaining native elephant community has shrunk over the years. Humans destroyed the tropical forests of Xishuangbanna to build banana, tea or rubber plantations or to plant lucrative raw materials for traditional Chinese medicine.

Asian elephants primarily inhabit tropical forest habitats. When they walk into villages, they’re usually looking for food, and they only do that if their home doesn’t provide enough food. 

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