Đắk Lắk to use GPS tracking necklaces to monitor wild elephants

July, 04/2022 - 09:54
The International Organisation for Nature Conservation in Việt Nam and Đắk Lắk Province are working on a GPS tracking system to help with elephant conservation in the province.
Wild elephants in Yok Đôn National Park. — VNA/VNS Photo

ĐẮK LẮK — The International Organisation for Nature Conservation in Việt Nam and the Đắk Lắk Department of Agriculture and Rural Development are perfecting a GPS Tracking Necklaces for Elephants Program to help with elephant conservation in the province.

Đắk Lắk Province has around 28 wild elephants and they form groups of four to seven at Yok Đôn National Park and Phước Hòa Rubber Company (bordering Gia Lai Province).

Thái Truyền, consultant for the elephant conservation program of the International Organisation for Conservation of Nature in Việt Nam (which supports the project), said that GPS necklaces for elephants will help the rangers of the Elephant Conservation, Animal Rescue and Forest Protection and Management Centre and Yok Đôn National Park to identify the elephants' location and navigate their future movement. This will help rangers quickly respond if elephants ever have conflict with humans.

“This is the first time ever that a GPS Tracking Necklaces for Elephants Program will be executed in Việt Nam”, said Truyền.

Dr. Cao Thị Lý of Central Highlands University said official surveys show that the number of elephants in Đắk Lắk is declining. Therefore, using a GPS tracking necklace is essential for the elephant conservation program.

Other countries, such as India and Sri Lanka, have also used this method to conserve local wild elephants. If the program is officially implemented, Việt Nam conservation staff will learn from these countries and receive help from foreign wildlife conservation specialists, especially for elephant conservation.

This will help the staff perfect technical procedures relating to the elephant tracking database and how to set GPS necklaces on elephants.

Lê Quốc Thiện, officer of the International Organisation for Conservation of Nature Program in Vietnam, said that using technology to monitor elephants is crucial for setting up an alarm system. Elephants are animals with a large mobility range, so this system will help with understanding the animals' movement.

“For issues that are related to law or border management, the program has also proposed to find Vietnamese suppliers that import devices to help with monitoring them in the program and make sure they adhere to Việt Nam’s law and international commitments”, Thiện said.

For the past 30 years, the number of wild elephants in Việt Nam and especially in the Central Highlands has been quickly decreasing due to the loss of their natural habitat and inadequate conservation procedures. Central Highlands elephant conservation experts have been working hard to protect the elephants. — VNS.