Viet Nam News
ĐẮK LẮK — Only around 100 wild elephants, and an additional 60 in captivity, remain in Việt Nam, with most living in Đắk Lắk, Đồng Nai and Nghệ An provinces, a conference on elephant conservation heard on Wednesday.
At the three-day event in the Central Highland province of Đắk Lắk, which ends on Friday, the Việt Nam Administration of Forestry said elephants in the country face a high risk of extinction. According to the agency, the natural habitat for elephants is diminishing; resulting in an increased number of clashes between the animals and humans, while the poaching of elephants for their tusks continues. The domesticated elephants are aging and not a single one has reproduced over the last few years.
To address the situation, the Vietnamese Government has issued several policies aimed at preserving the domestic elephant herd, including a master plan for 2013-2020.
Deputy Director General of the Việt Nam Administration of Forestry, Cao Chí Công, said he hoped managers and experts would share their experiences and propose solutions to protect and develop the elephant population in Việt Nam.
Erin Ivory, an expert on animal care, urged measures to stop poaching and ensure the natural living habitat for elephants. For the domesticated elephants, she suggested improving health care for them and limiting the use of the animals in tourism. The expert also proposed more efforts to help them breed.
Representatives from international organisations and experts presented their research on the management of elephants in captivity and the use of elephants in tourism, among other issues.
In the framework of the conference, participants will tour an elephant rescue and breeding facility in Buôn Đôn District, Đắk Lắk Province.
Last December, the World Wild Fund for Nature (WWF) and Vietnamese nature authorities kicked off an emergency project to protect the biggest herd of elephants in the country from extinction.
The project is being undertaken by WWF Vietnam and the Yok Đôn National Park in Đắk Lắk Province, focusing on the enforcement of environmental law and mitigation of human and elephant conflicts. — VNS