People have fallen in love with this herd of wild elephants seeking a new habitat in China

In April, a herd of 15 elephants in China trekked more than 800 miles from the city of Pu’er to the city of Kunming in June, winning legions of fans along the way.

The herd, which authorities said was finally reaching a protected habitat in southwest China’s Yunnan province, had been migrating in search of food and a home, though no one knew exactly where they were headed. According to Reuters, state protection efforts have allowed the Chinese state of Xishuangbanna’s wild elephant population to double since 1978. The ban on hunting activities also made the elephants more willing to enter human communities.

More than 150,000 people were evacuated from their homes in the path of the elephants, but the animals have become a favorite with locals as fans follow their progress. For World Elephant Day this August 12, we take a look at some of the highlights of their journey.

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