For over a week, a herd of 19 lost elephants have escaped a nature reserve in China

Over the centuries, human expansion has forced elephants in China into extinction or retreat

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For over a week, a herd of 19 lost elephants that escaped a nature reserve in Yunnan province has seized the concentration of the Chinese public. Although the authorities are tracking them via drone and endeavoring to return them to a safe location, the elephants have caused a fair amount of damage by breaking into village farmland searching for food.

Elephants were once moderately common throughout China. Xiangqi, a Chinese variant of chess, uses elephants as its equivalent for bishops. But over the centuries, human expansion drove elephants into extinction or retreat, and by the 19th century, they were confined to a tiny population in the south.

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