China's wandering elephants approach home in Yunnan
China's now-famous herd of wandering elephants is approaching their original habitat in the southwestern province of Yunnan after traveling southward for days.
The elephants have spent the last five days wandering and foraging in Yuanjiang County of Yuxi City in Yunnan.
Local authorities have been using drones to track the herd's movements in the region.
On Thursday afternoon, the elephants left a field where they were foraging and headed into the forest. A monitoring team, using both drones and ground search methods, located the elephants within two hours.
The herd's return journey is expected to be hastened by lower temperatures in autumn, according to experts.
Since leaving their forest home in southern Yunnan's Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture last year, the elephants have traveled northward about 500 kilometers and arrived at the suburbs of the provincial capital Kunming on June 2.
Chinese authorities have sent police to escort the herd, evacuated roads to facilitate their passage, and used food to distract them from entering densely populated areas during their journey.
Asian elephants are primarily found in Yunnan and are under first-class state protection in China. Thanks to enhanced protection efforts, the wild elephant population in the province has grown to about 300, up from 193 in the 1980s.