Millions of people in China can’t stop watching a pack of elephants roaming

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For more than a week, China has been in the grip of a new internet sensation: a herd of 15 elephants that are large, lost and wreaking havoc in the country’s southwest.

Millions of people have tuned in for the survival of the elephants, who have traveled more than 500 kilometers (310 miles) across the country since escaping a nature reserve in south China last year.

And online, netizens have followed the transfix as elephants trample crops, causing over a million dollars Worth the damage, and continued to roam the towns, prompting local residents to stay inside.

More than 8 million people watched a video captured this week in which a calf found itself trapped under an adult elephant during a group nap near the city of Kunming in southwestern Yunnan province. Another clip shows a calf tripping clumsily as they chase a herd across a field, while a separate video shows a calf plunging head down into a pool while attempting to swallow water.

“Will they get cold while sleeping?” a concerned user Social media site Weibo. On As soon as the naptime pictures of the herd went viral. “I want to put them under the quilt.”
Human stars have also tried to ride on the figure of elephants. According to Global TimesInternet stars scrambled to get their hands on leftover corn and pineapple, which the authorities left to lure elephants away from the city. The outlet reported that videos posted online showed the stars picking and eating leftover pineapple to attract viewers.
It is still not clear why the elephants are traveling north. Some have assumed that the shrinking rainforests in their home may have inspired the visit. Others say they might just be Lost — something that worries even fans of elephants online.
“It’s really sad that we don’t know when they will reach their destination,” Another user posted on Weibo. written on.

bad environment

Elephant entertainment has a more serious side. Biologists see the situation as a reminder of what happens when elephant habitats deteriorate.

According to Xinhua, Asian elephants are considered a protected species in China, and about 300 of them live in Yunnan.

Over the past few decades, agriculture has led to habitat loss of elephants, forcing herds to fragment and become isolated in ever-shrinking plots of land. paper in nature. there are many elephants forced to feed For food in agricultural fields instead, human-elephant conflict increased over the past 10 years – something officials are clearly aware of.

Officials are trying to drive the elephants away from populated areas to prevent any clash. In late May, officials set up a 24-hour command center to monitor the elephants.

But the only way to stop elephant migrations in the future is to restore their habitats and protect natural resources, said Zhang Li, a wildlife biologist and professor at Beijing Normal University, according to the Global Times.

“The traditional buffer zones between humans and elephants are gradually disappearing, and the chances of elephants encountering humans naturally increase greatly,” Zhang said.

CNN’s Jesse Young contributed to this report.

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