Elephant herd trekking across China leave one behind

Elephant herd trekking across China leave one behind

Elephant herd trekking across China leave one behind Photo

An aerial view shows wild Asian elephants in Jinning district of Kunming, Yunnan province, China June 6, 2021. A herd of 15 wild elephants has trekked hundreds of kilometres after leaving their forest habitat in Xishuangbanna National Nature Reserve, according to local media. Picture taken June 6, 2021 with a drone. China Daily via REUTERS

A herd of wild elephants trekking across China took a break to forage and play in a forest in Chinas Yunnan province, after one animal became separated from the group.

The main herd of 14 foraged and played in the forest after passing through Yuxi city on Friday. The group had earlier entered and left Yunnans capital city of Kunming, defying attempts to redirect them after a journey of several hundred kilometres from forests to the south.

The herd, which includes three calves, began its journey northwards more than a year ago, travelling from a designated elephant protection zone in Xishuangbanna, near Chinas border with Myanmar.

The space available for Chinas last remaining native elephant community has gradually shrunk over the years, with the tropical forests of Xishuangbanna replaced with banana, tea or rubber plantations or used to plant lucrative raw materials for traditional Chinese medicine.

It is unclear what prompted the herd to head north, but conservation efforts in Yunnan over the past decade have seen elephant numbers double, putting land and resources under increasing strain.

The top U.S. diplomat in Hong Kong said the imposition of a new national security law had created an "atmosphere of coercion" that threatens both the citys freedoms and its standing as an international business hub.

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