Vietnam seeks ways to protect elephants


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As wild elephants in Vietnam are on the verge of extinction, the World Wide Fund for Nature in Vietnam, better known as WWF Vietnam, and Yok Don National Park (YDNP) have pledged to embark on an emergency action plan until 2020 to protect elephants in the area.
WWF Vietnam said in a press release that the aim is to enhance law enforcement and minimize human-elephant conflict by taking into account the seasonal migration patterns of elephants and forest-reliant livelihoods for locals.

In fact, the launch of an elephant conservation program in Vietnam is an urgent step, as local authorities have seized tons of ivory smuggled into Vietnam. This had raised public concerns that smugglers will turn to domestic ivory supplies to meet their demand.

Early this year, there were 48 tamed elephants in Daklak Province, but three have died. Meanwhile, the number of wild elephants is estimated at some 120, with around 70 in YDNP alone, said the national steering committee of the elephant conservation.

The country’s herd of wild elephants has declined by a sharp 95% in 40 years from 1975 to 2015. In Daklak alone, at least 23 wild elephants have been found dead in the 2009-2016 period, accounting for 25% of the total, of which nearly 75% are less-than-12-month ones, according to the Vietnam Administration of Forestry under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

The Central Highlands is home to the largest forest elephant population in Vietnam, making up 70% of the total. Therefore, the protection of the elephants in the area will be the most effective conservation solution to Vietnam’s Asian wild elephants.

Van Ngoc Thinh, country director of WWF Vietnam, said elephants require large-scale and seamless wildlife habitats to live and develop. Their living environment and migration corridors have been increasingly narrow and unsafe.

To protect elephants, WWF Vietnam will apply the spatial monitoring and reporting tool (SMART) to measure data, monitor elephant herds and relevant conservation activities at the park.