Da Xiang: Elephants Live In China And Symbolism

Elephants are auspicious animals that are known for being the most nurturing animals who are also fiercely intelligent beasts. And over the years, elephants have remained important parts of different societies. But in one of the weirdest things that were recently reported, a herd of 15 endangered elephants in China have completely dumbfounded the scientists on a global scale because the herd spotted traveling to different parts of China have been on the move for more than one year now, covering about 500Km from their original/ natural habitat.

In this article, we’ll share some important basics about what you need to know about elephants in China. So, let’s get right into it.

Do elephants live in China?

Elephants live in China, as they do in other parts of the world. But the population of elephants in China has been on the rise over the years. The increase in their numbers is thanks to the protection laws to protect the population of wild elephants across China, and the most recent reports show that the total population of the elephants has almost doubled to 300 from the 180 elephants that China had in the 1980s.

Note, however, that elephants are only found in the most extreme south of China, in the province of Yunnan, bordering Laos and Burma. The range of the area that the elephants live in includes the Nangunhe Nature Reserves and also the Xishuangbanna (XSNB) reserved.

What is the population of elephants in China?

wandering elephants in china live

How Many Elephants Live In China? Currently, there are 300 wild elephants in China, as reported by a news agency in Xinhua.

Where do elephants live in China?

The elephants in China are primarily found in Yunnan Province, at the province’s most extreme in the province of Yunnan, at the border of Laos and Burma. The elephants are found specifically in two Nature Reserves – Xishuangbanna (XSNB) and also the Nangunhe reserves.

Why are elephants moving in China?

china elephant herd

In the past year, a herd of 15 elephants has wandered over 300 miles from their home in the Xishuangbanna Nature Reserve in the SouthWestern Yunnan Province, and they are headed North but to an unknown destination. As these elephants travel China, most people and scientists are baffled by the elephants’ journey, and everyone is wondering why. This is primarily because elephants don’t migrate over such long distances, especially for no real reason. And since no one knows why the elephants are migrating in the first place and the fact that these elephants have covered the longest distance that elephants have ever been recorded to travel to, it remains a very baffling thing.

This family of elephants features 6 adult female elephants, 3 male adults, and 6 juvenile elephants. The elephants have recently been drawn to live closer to the city that is home to at least 8 million people in Kunming.

They have been spotted smashing down doors, ‘stealing’ food, raiding shops, taking baths in canals, napping in the middle of the forest, and playing in the mud. They have also been seeing moseying into houses, even lining up in courtyards just to drink water.

Unfortunately, there is no real known reason why the elephants traveled such a long distance, and it’s also believed that they may be going back south once again. The most recent sighting of the elephants spotted the elephants in Shijie, which is a town close to the city of Yuxi. And the journey of the herd is still quite perplexing to many, especially because the elephants have traveled over 500KM, wandering through towns, fields, and cities, damaging buildings, and eating crops worth millions of dollars.

To date, experts are still baffled with what happened and why the elephants left their natural habitats, but some people have suggested that perhaps the leader of the herd was inexperienced and led them astray. But others believe it is possible the elephants were looking for new habitat.

What happened to the elephants in China?

elephant migration china map

As the herd of 15 elephants traveled across China throughout 2020, and with researchers and biodiversity conservationists unable to establish the actual reason for the migration of the elephants, even as the majestic herd led to the temporary relocation of some of the homes as they destroyed food on their way, the elephants are still on the road, though they appear to be slowly heading back. Generally, the parties and organizations involved have been baiting the elephants, albeit moderately, to guide the elephants back to their home in the nature reserve. But even this strategy has its set of challenges; the biggest one is making sure that the elephants are not too dependent on human-made foods. The experts have also considered putting up electric fencing to divert them since the electric fences have, for the longest time, been used to mitigate animal-human conflict by keeping the wildlife away from the crop fields.

An attempt to steer these elephants away from their perhaps ‘internal compass’ was previously unsuccessful, including the attempt to have the elephants redirected to Mengyangzi Nature Reserve. But this plan eventually paid off, as the herd was seen to have turned back around, and they headed back home.

And to ensure the elephants follow the correct paths, artificial roads, baits, and electric fences have all been set up to ensure correct paths back home.  

What does the elephant symbolize in Chinese culture?

elephant symbolism china

The story of the herd of elephants traveling through China notwithstanding, it goes without saying that elephants are important in Chinese culture. But why exactly is this the case?

Well, in Chinese culture, elephants are believed to be the symbol of happiness and good luck. And in Feng Shui, elephants are significant symbolic animals that are associated with bringing good luck, protection, wisdom, and fertility, depending on where they are or where they are depicted from. Elephants also symbolize strength.

It’s also interesting to note that the Chinese word for elephant is spelled and pronounced like the Chinese word for ‘Things to come’ or ‘Sign’ which is why most Chinese people pair elephants with certain symbols to create some sort of pun.

elephant symbol feng shui

In Feng Shui, the elephant is considered a powerful symbol of good fortune, strength, wisdom, and loyalty. This majestic animal is revered in many cultures around the world, and it has been associated with various positive attributes for thousands of years.

In Feng Shui, the elephant symbolizes power, stability, and endurance, and it is often used to create a strong foundation in one’s home or office. Elephants are believed to have a calming and grounding effect on the energy in a space, and they can help to promote feelings of stability, security, and harmony.

One of the most popular Feng Shui cures involving elephants is the placement of an elephant figurine or statue in the home or office. The elephant should ideally face inward, towards the center of the room, and it should be placed in a prominent location where it can be easily seen.

Elephant figurines can be made from a variety of materials, including wood, metal, and crystal. Some Feng Shui experts recommend choosing an elephant made from a material that corresponds to the specific element associated with the area of the home or office where it will be placed. For example, a wooden elephant could be placed in the east or southeast area of the home or office, which is associated with the element of wood.

Elephant symbols can also be incorporated into other Feng Shui cures, such as using elephant-themed artwork, textiles, or decorative items. Elephant motifs can be found on everything from rugs and curtains to pillows and throws, and they can add a touch of elegance and grace to any space.

In addition to their Feng Shui benefits, elephants are also revered in many cultures as symbols of strength, wisdom, and good luck. They are associated with intelligence, memory, and loyalty, and they are often seen as protectors and guardians of the home.


Thanks to robust conservation and protection measures, the number of Asian elephant, which is pretty much an endangered species, has increased by almost double the number recorded in 1980 (180) to 300 by 2021. These numbers are impressive and expected to increase, especially with the herd of elephants that recently journeyed through China, which inadvertently had turned into the elephants’ special way of making the world more aware of the plight faced by the elephants and the fact that they are an endangered species.

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