Members of an elephant herd traveling 500 kilometers (300 miles) through southwest China have become world celebrities.

The 15-member herd was already getting a lot of attention in China. However, the group's long journey is now being covered by news organizations and on social media.

The elephants are making their way from their habitat in a mountainous region of Yunnan province to the city of Kunming.

YouTube and Twitter are teeming with video clips of the elephants' antics as they make their way across farmland, villages and towns. One of the most popular videos showed two baby elephants being pulled out of a ditch by the group's adult members.

The elephants have also gotten a lot of attention on China's Weibo social media platform. More than 200 million people viewed photos of the group sleeping.

Drones have been filming the herd from the skies and security cameras have been capturing it as it walks down city streets. Individuals are following the elephants to limit the animals' damage and keep them and people safe.

Officials in China said they don't know what made the elephants make the long journey. They do appear to be drawn to corn, fruits, and other appetizing crops they come upon along the road. According to some experts, the elephants may have departed because their leader became lost.

According to Nilanga Jayasinghe of the World Wildlife Fund, Asian elephants are loyal to their home areas until there are severe changes in the environment, a loss of resources, or development.

"In this case, we don't really know why they left their home range," she told The Associated Press. She added that the area where they lived had seen major "habitat loss" linked to agriculture expansion.

"What possibly happened here is that in their search for new habitat, they got lost along the way and kept going," Jayasinghe added.

The herd was still outside Kunming, a city of 7 million-people, as of Tuesday. In a statement issued Monday, officials in the area said a command center had been established to monitor the elephants.