It was unclear why the wild Asian elephants, a protected species in China, strayed from the Xishuangbanna national nature reserve in Yunnan province.
But since April, the animals have embarked on a 500km journey, closely monitored by residents and authorities, with hundreds of people mobilised to ensure public safety.
On Tuesday, Yunnan authorities said the herd was 20km from the provincial capital of Kunming, home to millions of people.
Since mid-April, the elephants have wrecked around 56 hectares of crops, causing an estimated 6.8m yuan ($1.07m) in losses, CCTV said.
What the hell does anyone grow that’s worth $20,000 a hectare?