Aerial photo showing a herd of wild Asian elephants crossing the Yuanjiang River in southwest China’s Yunnan Province.

(Xinhua/IANS)

Authorities in China’s Yunnan province have evacuated more than 150,000 residents to avoid coming in contact with the migrating elephant herd, a local official said.

The herd of 14 wild Asian elephants is approaching their traditional habitat after roaming around for nearly a year and a half, reports Xinhua news agency.

At about 8 p.m. on Sunday, the herd crossed the Yuanjiang River with artificial guidance and has continued to head south, said Wan Yong, who heads the headquarters in charge of monitoring the migrating elephants, at a press conference on Monday night.

Wan said over 25,000 police officers and staff were dispatched, and a large number of vehicles and drones were deployed to monitor and guide the migrating elephants.

Some 180 tonnes of food has been provided to the elephants during their migration.

Wan said the elephants are in stable condition.

It has been around 17 months since the herd left their original habitat in a nature reserve in southern Yunnan’s Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture.

Wild Asian elephants are under A-level state protection in China.

Due to more vigorous environmental and wildlife protection efforts, its population in the country has grown to about 300, primarily scattered in Yunnan.

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The above article has been published from a wire source with minimal modifications to the headline and text.

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