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Herd of wild elephants on the march in China

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Elephants - Level 4

Fifteen elephants are approaching the Chinese city of Kunming. They have travelled 500km from their habitat in a nature reserve near the borders with Myanmar and Laos. They are nearing the outskirts of the city of 6.6 million people. They have travelled along highways and through farms over the past few months. They have feasted on kilos of corn and other crops from fields. Their journey has captivated the Chinese public.

Experts are setting up barriers to get the elephants to go back towards their nature reserve. No one knows why the animals walked so far. One reason could be a decline in the amount of edible plants in their reserve, especially supplies of their favourite foods. Another reason could be a rise in their numbers, from 193 in the 1980s to around 300 today. A further possibility is that the elephants' leader could have led them astray.

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Elephants - Level 5

A herd of 15 Asian elephants, including three calves, is approaching the Chinese city of Kunming. The animals have trekked 500km from their habitat in a nature reserve near the borders with Myanmar and Laos. The elephants are near the outskirts of the city of 6.6 million people. They have travelled along highways and through farms over the past few months. A Chinese TV station said that over the past week, the animals guzzled down water from a farm's water tank and feasted on kilos of corn and other crops. Their journey has been captivating the Chinese public.

Experts are now trying to keep the herd away from Kunming city. They are setting up barriers to get it to go back towards the nature reserve. No one knows why the animals walked so far away from their original habitat. One reason could be a decline in the amount of edible plants in their reserve, especially supplies of their favourite foods, like plume grass. Another reason could be a rise in numbers in the wild elephant population in the area, from 193 in the 1980s to around 300 today. A further possibility is that the leader of the herd could have led it astray.

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11 online activities    |    8-page printable   (PDF)

Elephants - Level 6

A herd of 15 wild elephants is approaching a city of 6.6 million people in China. The group of Asian elephants has trekked nearly 500km from their habitat in a nature reserve in the south of Yunnan province, near the borders with Myanmar and Laos. China's official news agency, Xinhua, reports that there are three calves in the herd. The giant beasts are heading north to the outskirts of the provincial capital, Kunming. They have travelled along highways and through fields of crops over the past few months. A Chinese TV station said that over the past week, the animals guzzled down the water in a water tank and feasted on kilos of corn in farmers' fields. Their journey has been captivating the Chinese public.

Authorities are now attempting to ensure the herd does not enter Kunming city. Experts are coaxing the animals into taking detours that will get them to head back towards their nature reserve. It is unclear as to why the animals have migrated so far away from their original habitat. One reason could be a decline in the amount of edible plants in their reserve. Naturally growing supplies of the elephants' favorite foods, such as plume grass, have fallen. Another factor could be a rise in elephant numbers. Xinhua reports that the wild elephant population in Yunnan Province is around 300, up from 193 in the 1980s. A further explanation offered is that the leader of the herd could have simply led it astray.

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25 online activities    |    27-page printable    |    2-page mini-lesson



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