BEIJING (Global Times): A herd of 15 wild Asian elephants in Southwest China's Yunnan Province has become a huge hit on Chinese social media as netizens have been going gaga over their cute behaviors, such as the way they settle down for a nap after a long migration.
Wandering around the outskirts of the city of Kunming, the elephant herd has netizens clamoring to head there during the three-day Dragon Boat Festival holiday this weekend.
Drone footage of the elephant herd resting in the Jinning district of Kunming on Monday quickly went viral on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo, earning more than 200 million views as of Thursday.
Many netizens described the herd as "too cute" and even linked their sleeping position to the recent popular tangping, or "lie flat," meme, a viral joke, usually describes people lying down to rest, which today's frustrated youth have been using to depict their resigned attitude toward the difficulties in life.
"Those cute elephants are really as tired as we city people who work every day and just want to get rid of the stress and 'lie flat' there," posted a netizen on Sina Weibo.
"I'm being attacked by their cuteness, and want to quietly bring them some blankets while they sleep," posted another.
Footage of the elephants laying around hasn't been the only source of entertainment provided by the herd, videos of the baby elephants falling over or playing around have also attracted netizens' attention on Sina Weibo, kindling some people's curiosity toward Yunnan Province and desire to travel there during the Dragon Boat Festival to see for themselves the province's representative animal, even if they don't get a chance to see this particular herd.
"Ticket booked. Although whether or not I see the herd very much depends on my luck, I'm traveling to Kunming anyways, even if it's just to see the elephants at the zoo," posted one netizen on Sina Weibo.
"We plan to drive ourselves from Guiyang to Kunming on Sunday and stop at the local zoo to see Yunnan's elephants because my daughter got so into the images of the wild Asian elephants on TV, I think it is a good opportunity to have her learn more about animals and nature," Wang Qiujing, a 36-year-old mom in Guiyang, Guizhou Province, told the Global Times on Thursday.
While elephants are on everyone's minds due to the viral videos, people's love for Yunnan's representative animal has always been there, attracting not only outsiders but also locals.
"Yes and no. Yes, because the migrating elephants have captured the public's attention so maybe animal lovers around the country now want to head to Yunnan; No, because, elephants have always been Yunnan's top tourist attraction, not just this right now," a tourist management employee at the Kunming Zoo, told the Global Times on Thursday.
"Elephants and peacocks are two animals that are pretty much Kunming's 'name card.' They not only interest tourists who are from other parts of the country but also are something we locals are proud of, like Chengdu is proud of pandas," Su Xue, a young woman from Kunming, told the Global Times on Thursday.
"If you really love them, please don't follow them around. Visiting a zoo is the better option instead of disturbing those elephants that are migrating," Zhu, an animal protection expert, warned. - Global Times