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Elephants Wandered many Miles Into A Chinese City. Nobody Knows Why

A group of untamed elephants has wandered into the suburbs of the Chinese city of Kunming after trekking quite 300 miles from their home, perplexing experts and stymying officials who have tried to stay the hulking animals out of populated areas.

The 15 Asian elephants — some mature et al. still young — left a nature reserve near China's border with Myanmar and Laos quite a year ago and are northbound ever since, consistent with Chinese media.

Along the way, they need traversed forests, forded streams, tromped through villages and towns, broken into farms and raided crop fields. One young elephant was even reported to possess become drunk after snarfing down a stash of fermented grain wont to make liquor.

Authorities have mobilized many people and deployed drones to trace the group of pachyderms. They've used fruit and vegetables as bait and found out barriers to undertake to stay the elephants from entering populated areas, including Kunming, which is home to around 7 million people.

But the group has pressed on. the large question is: Why?

Experts suspect they left their range in search of resources.

"We tend to speak about three S's: safety, sustenance and sex," said George Wittemyer, an elephant specialist at Colorado State University and chairman of the scientific board at Save The Elephants.

"(Elephants) move to avoid high risks or to avoid dangerous situations. They move to seek out food resources, and nutrition and water. and that they move for social reasons and reproductive opportunities," Wittemyer said by phone from Kenya, where he's studying African elephants.

In the region of Xishuangbanna, where this group originated, the population of elephants has grown since the govt found out two reserves. There are about 280 elephants living there now.

Wittemyer suspects one possible factor may are elephant overcrowding.

"It's quite natural for elephants once they get in high-density areas to maneuver and search around for better living situations. As you reside with tons of other individuals, there tends to be competition for the simplest resources," he said.