Text: Mar Aguilar / Production: Adriana Toca
On March 20, 2020, a group of 16 Asian elephants left their home in the Xishuangbanna reserve, close to Laos and Myanmar, and headed north. By the way, a female went into labor, so the animals made a stop in the forests of Pu’er, 80 km from the reserve, which lasted five months. After this they started walking again, but two elephants decided to go home.
The animals have already more than 500 km traveled. On their particular excursion they have eaten whole cornfields, smashed barns and razed farmlands. They have been seen walking on roads and crossing some villages.
The herd has become a viral phenomenon in China, their journey can be followed live and they are known as the “Drunk elephants”. The name is very relevant and it is that, in this journey, the animals they have entered a liquor factory. In fact, one of them got drunk eating fermented grain. They also went into a dealership and they drank 2000 liters of water.
The anecdote may be funny at first, but there are those who have lost their harvest or regret significant material damage. The damage and damage caused by the herd already amounts to one million euros.
The “drunk elephants” are protected, in fact, they are Asian elephants, currently in danger of extinction. To avoid incidents, a team of experts closely follows the herd using drones, feeding them away from populated areas and using vehicles to prevent the animals from entering the villages.
Experts are not very clear about the reason for this very long migration to the north. Some suggest that the elephant leading the retinue may not have much experience and may have taken the wrong route. Others claim that the trip may be motivated by the decline in the plants they eat in forest areas. This reason is recurrent since it is not the first time that the pachyderms of the Xishuangbanna reserve have left their home for not having enough food in the jungle and they reach the villages themselves. What had never happened is that they went so far north, so far.
At the moment, there have been no incidents with injuries or deaths to regret, which has happened on other occasions.