Lone elephant sent back to home nature reserve

YUNNAN: A male Asian elephant that strayed from its wild herd a month ago has been returned to the Xishuangbanna National Nature Reserve in Yunnan province.

It left Xishuangbanna last year with 16 other elephants and the herd headed north. Two of the elephants returned to the nature reserve early this year.

After travelling more than 500km, the male elephant left the herd on June 6. The other 14 were still roaming in Xinping county, according to the command office in charge of monitoring their movement.

The male elephant had stayed alone on the outskirts of Kunming, the provincial capital, and the neighbouring city of Yuxi for 32 days, and had been about 72km from the herd.

On July 5, it entered Yuxi’s Zanbatang community, only 300m from an expressway and 200m from the Kunming-Yuxi Intercity Railway.

“Due to safety concerns, we decided to capture the elephant early on Wednesday morning,” said Xie Yi, a professor from Beijing Forestry University.

He noted that after long-term observation, an expert team said the elephant was unlikely to reunite with the herd, and that limited food resources in the area increased the risk of the animal coming into conflict with people. — China Daily/ANN

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