"Wild elephants are awe-inspiring — even if they’re trying to kill you, as I
discovered in 2004.
At the time I was studying how poachers and loggers threaten native mammals in
Africa’s Congo Basin. I was sneaking up on a herd of forest elephants when they
suddenly charged, rushing at me like enraged, out-of-control bulldozers. With
the angry animals hot on my heels, I barely escaped by diving into a tangle of
vines, shuddering with fear but oddly enthralled by it all, too.
Many residents of southern China must be feeling similarly. A herd of 15 Asian
elephants, led by adult females, departed last year from Xishuangbanna National
Nature Reserve, near China’s border with Myanmar and Laos. Since then they’ve
travelled about 500 kilometres northward, and are now approaching the bustling
city of Kunming and its seven million inhabitants.
No one knows exactly where the elephants are going, or why. But two things are
clear: the elephants were probably struggling to survive in their native
habitat, and Chinese efforts to save the elephants clash with the nation’s
aggressive strategies of investment and global development."
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics