Viet Nam News
HCM CITY— Nông Sơn District in the central province of Quảng Nam plans to set up an elephant conservation centre to protect the remaining small wild population in the province as well as other endangered species, conservationists said.
Nông Sơn is one of 15 areas in the country that still have populations of wild elephants, Cao Chí Công, deputy general director of the Việt Nam Administration of Forestry, said.
A 17,500-hectare forest area in Quế Lâm and Phước Ninh communes ranks fourth in Việt Nam in terms of its elephant population, Công told a conference held on Wednesday (August 3) in Quảng Nam Province.
Based on the evidence of footprints, scientists estimate that six to 10 elephants are living in the area.
In early July locals in Quế Lâm Commune found six elephants wading through a stream in Cẩm La village, including a male animal with 30-cm long tusks.
In June the Quảng Nam Province People’s Committee had submitted a proposal to the Việt Nam Forest Administration for establishing a elephant conservation site in Nông Sơn.
The project aims to help conserve the wild population and reduce human-elephant conflicts.
In the middle of this month the forest resources and environment centre would do a survey of bio-diversity and elephant habitats for establishing the conservation site by the end of this year, Vũ Tiến Điển, the centre’s director, said.
A herd of wild elephants in Đắk Lắk Province. Photo tintaynguyen.com
Nguyễn Chí Tùng, deputy chairman of the Nông Sơn District People’s Committee, said setting up a conservation centre which can also be used to promote eco-tourism is an urgent task.
However, Nguyễn Viết Trãi, director of Mai Linh Tourism Joint Stock Company, rejected this, saying it is not feasible to develop tourism at an elephant conservation centre.
Nguyễn Vũ Linh, deputy director of the Việt Nam Administration of Forestry’s Environment Conservation Department, said the wild elephant population is declining in Việt Nam due to loss of habitat and poaching.
In natural forests, there is not enough food for them to survive and so they have to move to the surrounding cultivated areas to forage for food, sparking off conflicts with humans, he said.
“It is important to set aside a forest area that is large enough for wild elephants to live and find food to avoid human-elephant conflicts.”
Công said the number of wild elephants in the country has fallen to 100.
The country already has three elephant conservation sites in Nghệ An, Đắk Lắk and Đồng Nai, he said. — VNS