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Wandering Asian Elephants Heading Home


Fourteen elephants of various sizes and ages were guided across the Yuanjiang river in Yunnan province on Sunday night in China. (Yunnan Provincial Command Center for the Safety and Monitoring of North Migrating Asian Elephants via AP)
Wandering Asian Elephants Heading Home
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No one knows why 14 Asian elephants left a protected nature area in China and started walking north about a year ago.

But after covering 500 kilometers, the elephants seem to be heading home.

The elephants are protected in China. There are only about 300 in the country.

During the year that the elephants walked, they became famous in China and around the world. They ate crops on farms. They entered buildings to find food.

Government officials used large trucks, groups of workers and drones to watch the elephants’ activities.

FILE - In this photo taken June 4, 2021 and released by Yunnan Forest Fire Brigade, a migrating herd of elephants roam through farmlands of Shuanghe Township, Jinning District of Kunming city in southwestern China's Yunnan Province. (Yunnan Forest Fire Brigade via AP)
FILE - In this photo taken June 4, 2021 and released by Yunnan Forest Fire Brigade, a migrating herd of elephants roam through farmlands of Shuanghe Township, Jinning District of Kunming city in southwestern China's Yunnan Province. (Yunnan Forest Fire Brigade via AP)

The animals made it close to Kunming, a large city in Yunnan province, before turning around.

One adult male separated from the group. He was captured and taken back to the protected nature reserve.

By the end of the day Sunday, the elephants were still about 200 kilometers from the reserve.

People who have been watching and keeping the elephants safe helped them avoid traffic. They used food to guide them toward a bridge where they could cross the Yuanjiang river.

A statement sent from the National Forestry and Grassland Administration said now that the elephants have crossed the river, they are in a safer habitat and making progress toward home.

I’m Dan Friedell.

Dan Friedell adapted this story for Learning English based on an Associated Press report. Ashley Thompson was the editor.

What would you do to help the elephants get home safely? Tell us in the Comments Section and visit our Facebook page.

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Words in This Story

drone –n. a type of small aircraft that flies without a pilot

province –n. any one of the large parts that some countries are divided into

reserve –n. an area of land where animals and plants are given special protection

habitat –n. the place or type of place where a plant or animal naturally or normally lives or grows

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