via The Hill

A herd of at least 15 elephants that left the limits of the Xishuangbanna reserve, a place located near the Chinese border with Laos and Myanmar, has the population of the south of the great Asian country and especially local scientists on alert.

The 15 elephants have been hoovering up crops and poking their noses through doors on the march from the south of Yunnan province to its capital Kunming. It is unclear why they left their habitat to embark on the journey, which has captivated residents and experts.

“We do not know where they are going and we do not understand why to the north, years ago, the migrations of Asian elephants had happened, but normally they extended within their habitat and in search of food, going so far and towards colder areas is quite rare,”  said Chen Mingyong, a professor at Yunnan University and a specialist in the study of wild elephants, told local radio.

According to some scientists consulted, the result of this may be the constant deterioration of the area making it impossible for the animals to subsist there.

Residents and local authorities have been monitoring the passage of the pachyderms, where they have been able to identify at least 6 females, five adult males, and four calves.

No casualties have been reported in the cities and towns where the animals have passed through, currently, the herd is approximately 24 miles from the city of Kunming, where the authorities will try again to return them to their natural habitat where they will be safe.

The wild elephant population in Yunnan is about 300, but according to the Global Times, the habitat area has decreased in size at least 3 times in the last 20 years.

So far they have traveled more than 300 miles, and no one knows where the path of these elephants will end. Let’s just hope they turn around and return safely to their reserve.