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Drone captures elephant herd’s nap after 300-plus mile trek

It’s a Jumbo cuddle puddle.

A herd of wild elephants was seen taking a break to spoon while sleeping during an epic 313-mile journey across China that has enthralled the world.

Adorable new aerial footage shows members of the 15-strong herd taking a well-deserved snooze with their calves near Xiyang Monday after leaving a nature preserve in the southern Yunnan province to migrate north more than a year ago, according to BBC News.

The pooped pachyderms, who are being tracked by 14 government drones, marched roughly 13 miles from the Kunming area on June 2 to their napping site after heavy rain slowed their voyage.

The traveling trunk-swingers were escorted by police as they tromped near Kunming — a city of 8.5 million residents — last week, prompting at least 510 people and over 110 vehicles to block roads in order to guide them to safety, according to China’s Xinhua.

Elephants graze near Shuanghe Township.
The migrating elephants got a police escort near the city of Kunming, China.
AP

The intrepid herd, which includes three calves, have trudged along highways and through crop fields, reportedly causing $1.1 million in economic loss in recent weeks.

It’s unclear why the animals left their habitat and experts say a journey this long is rare for elephants. But they may be in search of new food sources due to deforestation, according to scientists.

A migrating herd of elephants rests near the Xinyang Township.
A migrating herd of elephants rests near Xinyang Township, China.
AP

“The size of the rain forests has dwindled, and that caused the wild Asian elephants to leave their home in Xishuangbanna,” Zhang Li, a professor of ecology who specializes in the study of elephants, told the Beijing News. “The expansion of elephant families also increases the odds for them to venture out for a new home.”

A herd of wild Asian elephants stands in E'shan county in southwestern China's Yunnan Province, Friday, May 28, 2021.
The pack may have been led astray by an inexperienced leader, according to professor Chen Mingyong.
AP

Chen Mingyong, a professor at Yunnan University’s Asian Elephant Research Center, said the leader of the pack possibly “lacks experience and led the whole group astray,” according to Xinhua.

Footage also shows the massive mammals running amok in rural villages, with a baby at one point reportedly getting drunk and passing out after eating fermented alcohol.

A herd of wild Asian elephants stands in E'shan county in southwestern China's Yunnan Province, Friday, May 28, 2021.
The elephants may be in search of new food sources due to deforestation, according to scientists.
AP

Officers have also laid out snacks such as corn cobs, bananas and pineapples in an effort to  steer the animals away from urban areas.

The migration began in March of last year, when the herd set out with 17 elephants,  according to the Yunnan Forest Firefighting Brigade which is in charge of monitoring the elephants.


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