In China, an incredible story is coming to an end, followed by the whole world. The herd of elephants that escaped from the reserve last year is finally returning home. The animals traveled 500 kilometers. The Chinese authorities did everything not to interfere with them, and even temporarily resettled 150 thousand inhabitants of cities and villages that were on their way. What made the elephants turn back?
This is not the end of the elephant reality show, but it is almost the final episode. Escaped a year and a half ago from the Mengyangzi nature reserve on the border of southern China and Laos, the large Asian elephants finally walked up and headed for their homelands.
Their adventures, especially in the last couple of months, have been watched with affection by millions of Internet users. And the nomadic herd does not pay any attention to this: it splashes in water bodies, climbs the slopes, tramples the jungle. Moreover, every step of theirs, just in case, is controlled by 25 thousand rescuers and policemen with the help of drones.
"When the elephant was lying in the sand, and others sprinkled it with mud, even at that moment they were so charming!"
However, not always: a walk 500 kilometers long and 17 months with a short break for the birth and upbringing of one elephant was not so harmless. The herd peered into all the villages with curiosity, leaving behind ruined barns and trampled rice paddies and corn fields.
The damage has already exceeded a million dollars. But the locals on the animals, it seems, are not offended.
"Some, of course, complained that the elephants ate their entire crop. But the government said that everyone will be compensated for everything. And besides, you can always grow a new crop, but there will be no such elephants if they die of hunger," - stressed Zhang Wanbao, Party Secretary of Shiyantou Village.
And now, just in case, the authorities have resettled almost 150 thousand people for a while. And the instruction on the technique of village safety was supplemented with not at all superfluous points.
"Now elephants are very close to your village and at night they can look here. Please do not be afraid, just close all windows and doors and in no case make any sounds, then they will pass by!" …
So that the way back will certainly pass without incident, bait is laid out for the elephants along the entire route - almost 18 tons of food. And the entire route is carefully adjusted, building artificial obstacles from trucks and directing the herd towards the house. The last barrier - the Yuanjiang River - they did not take immediately, they tried to break through the cabins of the cars.
But after several unsuccessful attempts from the idea to go ahead, the head of the family still refused, taking his relatives along with him.
Why did the elephants decide to leave the boundaries of the reserve? The specialists did not fully understand this. But they really want to believe that all the same from too good a life. After all, measures for the protection of animals in China led to an increase in the population: back in the nineties there were about one hundred and fifty, now it is twice as much. And in their usual habitat, they just felt cramped.
The new habitat for Yunnan elephants appears to be cooler. Therefore, they return back to the south. True, in order to understand this, they had to pretty much stomp alongside people for whom it was a pleasure to watch uninvited guests, but it is better when it is still at a distance.