|A domesticated elephant in an elephant-friendly tourist model in Đắk Lắk Province. — Photo sggp.org.vn
ĐẮK LẮK — Đắk Lắk Province is seeking to protect elephants in the province and Central Highland region amid overhunting and conflicts between the animals and people.
Trần Xuân Phước, director of Elephant Preservation, Animals Rescue and Forest Protection Management Centre (Department of Agriculture and Rural Development), said that domesticated elephants in the province right now not only have to pull wood but also carry tourists. This makes the elephants become stressful and aggressive.
“From now to 2025, residents and tourist companies will be expected to transition to an elephant-friendly tourist model. If they are willing to participate in the transition, the department will support them with money. This project is being appraised before being approved by the Government,” said Phước.
The number of elephants in Đắk Lắk Province has declined quickly in recent years due to reasons such as illegal hunting, deforestation and inadequate conservation procedures.
The centre currently monitors four groups of wild elephants that consist of 60 individuals that travel between Việt Nam and Cambodia in the forest.
When elephants travel through Việt Nam's forest, they can be aggressive, so there is always the potential for conflict. This puts people in danger at all times.
Đinh Văn Dũng, secretary of Chư Prông District Party's Committee (Gia Lai Province), said that whenever elephants travel into Việt Nam's forest or land, local authorities try to lure elephants away from people. At the same time, they also prohibit people from hunting elephants for skin and tusks.
However, because of the unexpected travel routes of these animals, local authorities cannot track them and alert people in time.
Phước said that if GPS tracking necklaces to monitor wild elephants programme are approved, it will be much easier for the centre to monitor and protect wild elephants while also preventing potential conflicts between elephants and humans. — VNS.