A herd of elephants which has been wandering across China for over 15 months took a well-deserved group nap near a village in Xiyang township on Tuesday.
The group of 15 total elephants, including three calves, has traversed over a jaw-dropping 500 kilometers (300 miles) on a trip outside of their habitat which has bewildered scientists.
Elephants travel across China
It remains unclear why the large group of animals decided to leave their habitat or when exactly they did so, and since their discovery by authorities the herd has captivated the entirety of China and the world.
Asian elephants are endangered, with a total of only 300 individuals remaining in the whole of China. Scientists believe this is the furthest any of them have ever traveled from their habitat in the south of Yunnan province.
Throughout their long journey, the elephants have trampled through fields, villages and even cities. They have even walked the main roads of cities such as Kunming, which has a population of 6.6 million people. After such a harrowing trip, it is obvious why the herd felt the need to take a group nap on Tuesday!
On their way to their unknown destination, the elephants have caused a lot of unintended destruction across China. They have eaten millions of dollars worth of crops, as well as damaging buildings in the populated areas they have traveled through by hitting doors and windows with their trunks.
A supervised excursion
The elephants have needed to be surveilled during their trip in order to keep them and the humans they pass by safe. Authorities have deployed multiple forms of supervision for the peripatetic herd as they make their way across the third largest country in the world.
The China Global Television Network reported that the local government has deployed 14 drones and 500 people to keep the herd, and the people who come into contact with it, safe. Groups tasked with monitoring the herd have also had to intervene, by shutting down roads the elephants are walking down and attempting to guide them back to their habitat.
These efforts have been unsuccessful, but it seems the elephants themselves have now decided to turn around, seemingly making their way back home. In the case of the 15 elephants walking across China, home is the Mengyangzi Nature Reserve in Xishuangbanna, in southwest Yunnan province.
According to the Yunnan Forest Firefighting Brigade, tasked with monitoring the herd, a single adult male elephant has separated himself from the group and is now around our kilometers (2.5 miles) away from them.
Scientists are still very unsure as to why this group of elephants has decided to leave the safer confines of their habitat. Some have suggested that the trip may be due to an inexperienced leader, whereas others have said that this move may be the elephants simply deciding to settle in an entirely new habitat.
Either way, it seems that this move is once-in-a-lifetime, both for people around the world watching it unfold and the elephants themselves!
Video footage captured by a drone of the elephants taking a nap can be seen below.