Vietnam’s Central Highland province of Dak Lak is making every effort to conserve wild elephants in the locality as the number of the animals is dropping over recent years, Vietnam News Agency (VNA) reported.
The provincial Elephant Conservation Centre has reported that the number of wild elephants living in the locality declined to around 80 last year from over 550 in 1980.
Meanwhile, the population of domesticated elephants has shrunk from 502 in 1980 to 49 in 2014, down over 90 per cent.
The herd is forecast to disappear in 20 to 30 years if the elephants do not reproduce.
Experts attributed the situation to deforestation and illegal hunting.
From 2005 to 2012, 14,000 hectares of forest in Buon Don, Ea Sup and Ea H’lao districts, which used to be home to a large number of elephants, were destroyed, while poaching has also pushed the wild elephant population down even further.
The province in 2013 approved an urgent project worth nearly 85 billion VND (around US$40 million) for conserving wild elephants in the locality to 2020, aiming to sustainably manage population of wild and domesticated elephant.
Elephants are a specialty of Dak Lak’s tourism, and conserving the animal not only helps maintain a precious genetic source but also preserves the cultural identity of the region.