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Wild and tame elephants in Đắk Lắk’s clash for food

Update: August, 31/2017 - 17:36
A tame elephant is searching for food in the forest. — VNA/VNS Photo Phạm Cường
Viet Nam News

ĐẮK LẮK — There have been at least five clashes recently between wild elephants in search of food and tame elephants in the Central Highlands province of Đắk Lắk’s Buôn Đôn District.

Most recently, on Monday, a herd with seven wild elephants attacked and injured two tame elephants at Forest Management Station No. 6 in Yok Đôn National Forest.

Huỳnh Trung Luân, director of the provincial Elephant Preservation Centre, said on Thursday that statistics with the centre from March till date shows the five conflicts occurred as wild elephants have been coming closer to human inhabitations such as forest management stations and local residents’ fields in search of food. So far, seven tame elephants have been injured, and one has died.

Luân said this problem is the result of the decline in forest area; wild elephants move towards inhabitations as they cannot find sufficient food in the forests. Another reason is that when wild male elephants are in rut, they are very violent and they attack the tame male elephants to get access to the females.

To reduce such conflicts, the centre has asked the tame elephants’ owners and tourism businesses using tame elephants to take steps to protect their elephants better, and not let their elephants wander into areas where wild elephants are typically spotted. Also, the tame elephants should not be chained in the forest in the evening, instead they should be brought home and protected, Luân said.

If there are such conflicts, residents should report the incident to the centre or local authorities who can step in and drive away the wild herds safely.

In the past few decades, the number of tame elephants in Đắk Lắk has seen a serious decline, from 502 in 1980 to the current 43. The main reason for this is that the number of tame elephants that bear a calf is few. At present, one female elephant is pregnant and expected to deliver next month, a positive sign as this is the first time in 30 years that a tame elephant in the province will bear a calf.

The Đắk Lắk Elephant Preservation Centre has joined hands with foreign experts to create conducive conditions for female elephants to bear calves. — VNS

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