As of Sunday night, the herd was still in Yuanjiang County, approximately 200km (125 miles) from the reserve. The elephants’ return completes a more than 500km odyssey that captivated the country. The highlights of their trip included the birth of a calf in Pu’er in November; causing more than 6.8m yuan ($1.07m) in damage, according to estimates by state broadcaster CGTN; and going viral for taking a nap.
In June, drone footage showed the herd sleeping in a forest outside a village in Xiyang township. When they started moving again, more than 410 emergency personnel, 374 vehicles and 14 drones were deployed with more than two tonnes of elephant food.