Vietnam Province Sets Up Elephant Sanctuary
AK LAK (Vietnam), Dec 17 (Bernama) -- The Central Highlands province of Dac Lak will set up a 200-hectare elephant sanctuary at the Yok Don National Park under a project to preserve wild and domestic elephants, Vietnam News Agency (VNA) reported.
Prof Bao Huy of Tay Nguyen University's Agriculture and Forestry faculty said the centre would provide a heaven for wild elephants.
Speaking at a seminar held by his university and the province's Sub-department of Forest Protection on December 15, he said the project also seeked to build a veterinary centre for elephants, raise public awareness about protecting the giant creatures, and help elephant owners get their animals to breed.
Huy is also the head of the elephant preservation project.
Advanced technologies for elephant protection and breeding would be obtained from international agencies, he said.
Officials responsible for conserving the pachyderms would be given professional training, he added.
The project, to be approved by the provincial People's Committee, will cost 58 billion VND (US$3.3 million) and is expected to be carried out in 2010-14.
Dak Lak has 80-110 wild elephants and 61 domesticated ones, according to a survey conducted for the project by a research group from the university.
However, the number of domesticated elephants is shrinking rapidly - there were 502 in 1985 - and they are in danger of disappearing unless measures for proper breeding and reproduction are immediately taken.
In the province, elephants are found mostly in Buon Don, Ea Sup and Ea H' Leo districts.
Of 310,000ha of forests in the province where wild elephants live, only 160,000 ha, mostly special use and protected forests, provide them with safe habitats.
But with these forests shrinking and wild elephants rapidly losing their habitat, there is increasing conflict between humans and wild elephants.
In Ea Sup district, for instance, wild elephants have been entering farmlands and destroying crops in Ia Loi, Ya Lop and Ea R'Ve communes.
Ha Cong Binh, head of the Sub-department of Forest Protection, said the appearance of nomadic people and the noise of machinery affected the wild elephants.