A wild Asian elephant has been filmed flouting border controls between China and Laos after dark.
The animal strolled out of China's southwestern Yunnan Province and crossed into neighbouring Luang Matha in Laos on Saturday.
A surveillance camera at a border-crossing checkpoint captured the elephant’s movements in the early hours.
The creature is seen casually stepping over a barrier and marching off as baffled guardsmen scope the area with flashlights.
Within minutes, two teams of soldiers were dispatched to look for the elephant and alert nearby residents. But the animal managed to find its own way home two hours later, dodging the border railing in the process.
"It's winter now and there's not a lot of food in the forest areas. We often see wild elephants hunting for food in nearby villages.” said Li Zhifu, a soldier at the Chahe border-crossing check point.
“This time, the elephant wandered around within our exit port but could not cause any harm because of our efforts.
The elephant has now returned to the forest safe and sound.”
Wild Asian elephants are a protected species in China, with about 300 of them living in the tropical rainforest of Yunnan Province.