A herd of elephants whose hike captures China watches the forced stop while waiting for one of their relatives to drag their leg and is now 14km away from the rest of the group.
15 pachydermi, including three elephants, have already covered more than 500km in the south-west of the country after leaving a reserve in Xishuangbanni, a region bordering Laos and Burma, earlier this year.
Peregrination keeps China in suspense whose national television CCTV broadcasts live herd actions 24 hours a day online.
A young male of about ten years, however, left the rest of the company at the beginning of the month and is increasingly distant from them. To the extent that female herds have slowed progress in recent days, with a break near a village 90km south of Kunming, the capital of Yunnan Province, according to CCTV.
With loud logs, the elephants tried to call out the robber, Yunnan University professor Chen Mingyong told the Caixin website.
But the backlog did not speed up the race. Young males usually leave the herd to live alone when they reach sexual maturity.
The march of elephants is constantly monitored by drones, and hundreds of officials intervene to evacuate the population on their way. Several thousand people had already had to leave their homes as a precaution.
The animals appear to be in good health and no one was injured as they entered the city, crossed highways and visited stables and homes in search of food.
The damage to agriculture caused by their travel is already estimated at almost a million euros.
Although the rainy season makes it difficult to walk, experts quoted by the Global Times on Tuesday estimated that pachyderms should not return to their home area before winter.
Meanwhile, “it would be best to find them a more suitable habitat, away from the population, and attract them there,” University of Beijing biologist Zhang Li told biologist.