Elephant herd skims 500km path of destruction after escaping China nature reserve

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The elephants traveled 500 kilometers (311 miles) through Yunnan Province, southwest of Xishuangbanna Nature Reserve, to Yuxi, a city of 2.6 million people, leaving a trail behind. destruction, according to the official news agency. Xinhua.

It is not known why they left their nature reserve, but during their travels the elephants caused 412 separate incidents of damage, with financial losses amounting to around 6.8 million yuan ($ 1.1 million ), Xinhua reported. They destroyed 56 hectares of farmland in Yuanjiang and Shiping counties alone, the agency said.

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The creatures also caused significant disturbance to residents. As of Thursday, residents were urged to stay indoors and pedestrians and vehicles were evacuated to Eshan town after elephants roamed the streets for six hours.

The elephant herd is said to have caused at least $ 1.1 million.

Authorities have established a 24-hour command center to monitor the animals after they appeared in the Hongta district of Yuxi on Monday, with more than 360 people, 76 police cars and dirt trucks and nine drones mobilized for this. task, and 18 tonnes of prepared elephant food. No casualties have been reported, according to Xinhua.

Surveillance images show the herd is made up of six adult females, three adult males, three subadults and three calves.

Asian elephants are the largest land mammal on the Asian continent, according to the World Wildlife Fund. They are considered a protected species in China, and about 300 of them live in Yunnan, according to Xinhua.

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