WATCH: A herd of elephants traveling hundreds of miles through China trots through city streets
- A herd of elephants is traveling hundreds of miles through China.
- The 15-member group has been caught on security cameras trotting down urban streets at night and even visiting a nursing home.
- No one knows for sure what originally caused them to make the 300-mile journey.
A herd of elephants is making its way through China, continuing their more-than-12-month trek from their home in a wildlife reserve in the Yunnan province.
The 15-member herd has been caught on security cameras trotting down urban streets at night, filmed by more than a dozen drones, and followed by people trying to help them get to their destination safely.
The group originally had 16 members, but two returned home, and a baby was born along the way. There are six females and three males, three juveniles, and three calves.
For sustenance, they've raided farms, visited a car dealership, and showed up at a retirement home. They poked their trunks into some of the rooms there, scaring an elderly man into hiding under his bed.
No animals or people have been hurt during the trip. But damage to crops is estimated at more than $1 million.
No one knows for sure what originally caused them to make the 300-mile journey.
Asian elephants are loyal to their home ranges unless there have been disturbances, loss of resources, or development, in which case they may move out, according to Nilanga Jayasinghe, manager for Asian species conservation at the World Wildlife Fund.
In China, elephants are given the top level of protection, and even as their natural habitat shrinks, their numbers are steadily increasing. Government orders have told people to stay inside and not to gawk at them or attempt to scare them away.
Asian elephants, the continent's largest land animal, are declining overall, with less than 50,000 left in the wild. Habitat loss and resulting human-wildlife conflict are their biggest threats, along with poaching and population isolation.
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