The herd began its journey in the southwestern province of Yunnan, traveling from a nature reserve in Xishuangbanna to Yuxi, a city of 2.6 million people.
Xinhua/Sipa

In photos: China's herd of wandering elephants

Updated 2:16 PM ET, Wed June 9, 2021

The herd began its journey in the southwestern province of Yunnan, traveling from a nature reserve in Xishuangbanna to Yuxi, a city of 2.6 million people.
Xinhua/Sipa

A herd of 15 elephants has wreaked havoc in China, trampling crops and causing more than $1 million worth of damage so far after the animals escaped from a nature reserve last year.

At least a dozen buzzing drones monitor them around the clock. Wherever they go, they're escorted by police. And millions have tuned in to watch them on livestreams.

The elephants have trekked more than 500 kilometers (311 miles) across the country. It's still unclear why they are making the journey north. Some have posited that shrinking rainforests in their home may have prompted the trip. Others say they could just be lost.