China: drones, guardians of the odyssey of wild elephants


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In China, a dozen elephants have been roaming north for more than a year and a half. Authorities use drones to monitor them

14 wild elephants, including three baby elephants, have been roaming the Chinese tropical south for months. The animals left their reserve for some reason and headed north. The authorities, despite their attempts, fail to stop them. They then take care to protect the inhabitants, and monitor the elephants using drones. Since April, the pachyderms have occupied hundreds of forest rangers, firefighters and experts. All are mobilized to try to make them turn back.

Tracking down is difficult. Wild elephants are used to moving at night, and can travel up to 30 kilometers in one go, in dense vegetation. “With time these elephants are almost part of the family, says the head of the surveillance team, Yang Xiangyu. They make us work hard, but we are always happy when we find them on our monitorsHowever, beware of those who are in their path: a peasant has been trampled to death. An Asian elephant can weigh up to 4 tons, and cause both human and material damage. Entire fields have been ravaged. The bill for the elephant odyssey, a journey of 700 kilometers, already amounts to nearly a million euros, and for some reason still unknown, they turned back south, their starting point.

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