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QU?NG NAM: A new elephant protection area was launched by the US and the central province of Qu?ng Nam in mountainous Nông S?n District on Thursday.
This protected area will conserve 18,977 hectares of critical habitat for one of the last groups of endangered Asian elephants in the province.
The area, part of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded Green Annamites Project, will be invested with approximately US$24 million in Qu?ng Nam and Th?a Thiên-Hu? provinces in assisting Vi?t Nam’s transition to climate-smart and low-emission development through improved forest protection, enhanced biodiversity conservation, and increased resilience of communities in 2016-20.
The US Government through USAID is working with Qu?ng Nam’s leaders to improve livelihoods for locals living in and around the protected area, conduct biodiversity monitoring, and raise conservation awareness among locals.
The initiative is part of the larger USAID Green Annamites project that partners with Qu?ng Nam and Th?a Thiên-Hu? provinces to promote growth while conserving forests and biodiversity.
“Improving the lives of local communities, conserving biodiversity, and supporting provinces to implement sustainable economic growth programmes are an important part of the US commitment to Vi?t Nam. We are proud to partner with the Qu?ng Nam provincial leadership to provide a critical habitat for the endangered Asian elephant, while finding ways to improve the incomes of local farmers,” said US ambassador Ted Osius at the launch.
Vi?t Nam’s forests and biodiversity are not just important to the country’s culture, but also to sustain economic growth, increase agricultural production, and reduce risk from natural disasters.
“I am impressed with Vi?t Nam’s conservation efforts. The Government of Vi?t Nam recognises that conservation is just as important to present and future economic growth as investments in infrastructure.
“Vi?t Nam’s forest cover has been significantly increasing for the last two decades, and the country has established a system of 176 protected areas starting with the first national park, Cúc Ph??ng, established in 1962,” Osius said.
Vice chairman of provincial People’s Committee Lê Trí Thanh said the province has allocated nearly 19,000ha for an elephant conservation centre in two communes – Qu? Lâm and Ph??c Ninh – in the mountainous district.
Last year, a herd of seven elephants was found in the forest in Nông S?n District.
Head of provincial sub-department of ranger and forest protection Phan Tu?n said the herd could develop as it includes males, females and calves.
He said the project would help local community and rangers protect the endangered elephant herd and rich biodiversity in the region.
The USAID Green Annamites Project, working in tandem with provincial authorities, will engage small-hold farmers and their families to improve livelihoods and increase investment in climate-smart agriculture while conserving natural biodiversity.