A herd of 30 adult Asian wild elephants were seen frolicking and feeding on lush green vegetation, away from their home in the Xishuangbanna National Nature Reserve in the country’s southwestern province of Yunnan.
The adventuring elephants wandered off for at least two days in apparent search of food near a village close to the Laos–Vietnam international border before returning to the reserve, state-run broadcaster CGTN reported.
The villages sighted the herd in the forest and reported their appearance to the police on 11 July.
The herd is from the same reserve which captured global attention for being home to the pachyderms who took a 500km odyssey for almost 17 months.
The animals were followed by drones which captured the members of the herd enjoying abundant vegetation on the hill.
The journey of the 14 wild elephants, including calves and females, was captured on drone cameras, recording some of the most extraordinary footage of the animals crossing small towns, napping closely tucked to each other and passing in a long line through bridges.
The elephants returned home after their long journey but caused damage worth 6.8m yuan ($1.07m) by destroying farmers’ crops, their homes and guzzling their water, according to an estimate by CGTN.
The elephants also got infamy after rumours spread that they “got drunk” on tonnes of corn wine. But it was debunked by experts.
This time, the elephants of Xishuangbanna Dai autonomous prefecture returned within two days and adequate measures were taken to ensure their and villagers’ safety, the state media said.
Local wildlife authorities also watched their move closely.
The Xishuangbanna reserve is home to around 90 per cent of the elephants in China. Lying next to the border of Myanmar and Laos, the reserve stretches for about 241,000 hectares.