|Tourists ride elephants in the Lắk lake ecotourism area in the Central Highland province of Đắk Lắk. — VNA/VNS Trần Lê Lâm|
ĐẮK LẮK — As of this month, Yok Đôn National Park will no longer offer elephant riding for tourists visiting the Central Highland province of Đắk Lắk.
Under an agreement signed by the national park and Animals Asia Foundation on Friday, the park committed to develop an alternative tourism activity designed around watching elephants in social groups within an elephant sanctuary. This will help to move the region away from elephant-riding tourism towards an animal-friendly alternative.
The Animals Asia Foundation gave the national park US$65,000 to support the transition towards elephant watching tourism from July, 2018 to July, 2023.
The foundation will also send experts and staff to develop and maintain the alternative.
They will also help promote the new elephant tourism in the national park to the international community.
Phạm Tuấn Linh, vice director of the national park, said it started shifting from elephant riding to alternative activities step by step three years ago.
The alternative benefited not only the elephants but also their owners, tamers and local community.
“The animal welfare-friendly alternative is expected to help improve public awareness about wildlife conservation and promote new alternative tourism to domestic and international tourists,” he said.
Animals Asia Foundation’s Animal Welfare Director Dave Neale said that the transition to environmentally friendly tourism was a global trend.
In Việt Nam, Yok Đôn National Park is the first one to commit replacing the elephant riding practice with elephant watching, he said.
He added the transition was an opportunity for the national park to ensure welfare for elephants and attract visitors.
There are 45 captive elephants in Đắk Lắk Province. For years, elephant riding has been a popular tourism activity for visitors to the province. — VNS