China transports elephant who left migrating herd back to nature reserve

The Asian elephants are resting, Yunnan province, China, photo: China Daily via Reuters
The Asian elephants are resting, Yunnan province, China, photo: China Daily via Reuters

A male elephant who broke away from the migrating herd in China, has been captured and send back to the nature reserve he came from. 

He was part of a herd of Asian elephants who spent months walking across the Yunnan province, travelling over 500 kilometres (310 miles) in one of the longest ever animal migrations of its kind in China.

Six female adult elephants, three male adults, three young adults, and three cubs left their home, the Xishuangbanna National Nature Reserve in Yunnan province.

The group is still walking around with no one knowing what their final destination will be. Chinese officials are closely monitoring the group to prevent elephant-human conflict.

The solo 10-year old strayed from the group a month ago. On Wednesday the elephant was tranquilized and taken to the Xishuangbanna National Nature Reserve, the wildlife department in Yunnan province said.

Habitat destroyed
The space available for China’s last remaining native elephant community has shrunk over the years. China’s wild elephant numbers have doubled to over 300 in the past three decades, but their habitats have shrunk by nearly two-thirds over the same period.

Humans destroyed the tropical forests of Xishuangbanna to build banana, tea or rubber plantations or to plant lucrative raw materials for traditional Chinese medicine.

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