Wild elephants: China's internet can't stop watching the wandering herd

For greater than every week, China has been gripped by a brand new internet sensation: a herd of 15 marauding elephants, who’re massive, misplaced and wrecking havoc in the nation’s southwest.

Millions have tuned in to livestreams of the elephants, which have trekked greater than 500 kilometers (310 miles) throughout the nation since escaping from a nature reserve in South China final yr.

And on-line, netizens have adopted transfixed as the elephants trampled crops, inflicting more than a million dollars price of injury, and roamed via cities, prompting native residents to remain inside.

More than 8 million folks watched a video captured this week exhibiting a calf who discovered itself caught underneath an grownup elephant throughout a gaggle nap close to the metropolis of Kunming, in southwestern Yunnan province. Another clip confirmed child elephants clumsily tripping as they adopted the herd throughout a subject, whereas a separate video confirmed a calf plunging head-first right into a pool because it tried to gulp down water.

“Will they get cold while sleeping?” nervous one consumer on social media site Weibo as photos of the herd’s naptime went viral. “I want to tuck them up under a quilt.”
Human stars have even tried to journey off the elephants’ superstar. According to Global Times, internet stars scrambled to get their palms on leftover corn and pineapple, which authorities omitted to lure elephants away from cities. Videos posted on-line confirmed the stars selecting up and consuming leftover pineapple to draw viewers, the outlet reported.
It’s nonetheless unclear why the elephants are making the journey north. Some have posited that shrinking rainforests of their dwelling could have prompted the journey. Others say they might simply be lost — one thing that additionally worries elephant followers on-line.
“It’s really sad that we don’t know when they will reach their destination,” another user wrote on Weibo.

Degraded surroundings

There’s a extra severe facet to the elephant leisure. Biologists see the state of affairs as a warning of what occurs when elephant habitats are degraded.

Asian elephants are thought of a protected species in China, and round 300 of them reside in Yunnan, in keeping with Xinhua.

Workers prepare a drone to monitor the migrating wild Asian elephants in Eshan County, Yuxi City, southwest China's Yunnan Province on May 29.Workers prepare a drone to monitor the migrating wild Asian elephants in Eshan County, Yuxi City, southwest China's Yunnan Province on May 29.
Over the previous few many years, agriculture has led to a lack of elephant habitats, leaving herds fragmented and remoted in ever-shrinking plots of land, in keeping with a paper in Nature. Many elephants are forced to forage for meals in agricultural areas as an alternative, resulting in an increase in human-elephant battle in the final 10 years — one thing authorities are clearly keenly conscious of.

Authorities have been attempting to steer the elephants away from populated areas to forestall any clashes. At the finish of May, authorities arrange a 24-hour command middle to watch the elephants.

But the solely method to forestall a future elephant exodus is to revive their habitats and defend pure assets, stated Zhang Li, a wildlife biologist and professor at Beijing Normal University, in keeping with Global Times.

“The traditional buffer zones between humans and elephants are gradually disappearing, and the chances of elephants’ encountering humans naturally increase greatly,” Zhang stated.

NCS’s Jessie Yeung contributed to this report.

With information from

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