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One of China’s wandering elephants is returned to nature reserve

The herd has been wandering in south-west China for more than a year.

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A lone elephant that has separated from a herd of Asian elephants migrating north is seen near Yuxi city in south-western China’s Yunnan Province (Yunnan Provincial Command Centre for the Safety and Monitoring of North Migrating Asian Elephants via AP)

A lone elephant that has separated from a herd of Asian elephants migrating north is seen near Yuxi city in south-western China’s Yunnan Province (Yunnan Provincial Command Centre for the Safety and Monitoring of North Migrating Asian Elephants via AP)

A lone elephant that has separated from a herd of Asian elephants migrating north is seen near Yuxi city in south-western China’s Yunnan Province (Yunnan Provincial Command Centre for the Safety and Monitoring of North Migrating Asian Elephants via AP)

A male Asian elephant that had separated from a herd that has been wandering in south-west China for more than a year has been anaesthetised and returned to its nature reserve.

The lone elephant was captured in Yuxi city and sent back to the Xishuangbanna National Nature Reserve, about 280 kilometres (175 miles) away, a command centre monitoring the elephants said.

It appeared to be healthy and did not have any injuries, the Yunnan provincial government said in a social media post.

The remaining 14 elephants have been moving southward recently but are still far from the reserve.

The elephant had been wandering on its own for more than a month and had shown no intention of returning to its herd, according to the Yunnan Provincial Command Centre for the Safety and Monitoring of North Migrating Asian Elephants.

It had relied heavily on food that the command centre provided or that it found in villagers’ homes, and had stayed in a rural neighbourhood very close to a major road and railway since Monday.

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The elephant’s frequent activities in populated areas prompted concerns from local authorities, who made the decision to send the elephant back to reduce public safety risk.

More than 200 people, dozens of emergency vehicles and 20 drones have been deployed to monitor the elephants, according to the command centre.


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