(Beijing) Dump trucks are lined up on the edge of houses in southwest China because a palace against wild elephants has already caused millions of yuan of damage.
Fifteen talkers, including three baby elephants, will have to move 500 km north of their presence in Shishuangpanna on the border between Laos and Burma in mid-April, Chinese television reported.
History has fascinated social networks and kept the country in suspense.
The reason for their unusual migration remains a mystery, but the elephants plundered the corn fields in their path and caused extensive material damage.
On Sunday, CCTV footage aired footage of trucks parked on a small country road in an attempt to drive the herd out of densely populated areas.
“We are here to stop the elephants,” a driver in his red vehicle told CCTV, who said he was acting at the request of authorities.
“I’ll stay here as long as I need to,” he said, a suburb of Kunming, a metropolis with more than eight million people.
Authorities mobilized thousands of people to follow the herd’s movements with drones and infrared cameras.
CCTV footage from the weekend showed elephants roaming the streets of a village, damaging flat trees and garage doors.
“I was scared,” a local resident told CCTV, who said he saw an elephant “three meters high.”
“A baby elephant even ran over our wall before it escaped,” the old woman said, whose name has not been released.
Since their journey began in mid-April, the elephants have destroyed about 56 hectares of crops, with an estimated 6.8 million yuan (870,000 euros) worth of damage, Chinese television reported last week.
Zoologists do not understand what caused the herd to leave their presence for such a long distance.
Wild elephants are protected in China, which has a population of 300, compared to less than 200 in the 1980s. They live only in the tourist and tropical region of Jishuangpanna.
However, pachyderms have tended to move closer to villages in recent years, while the plants they normally eat are being replaced by inedible organisms.