There are only 60 domestic elephants and around 100 wild ones alive in Vietnam at present (Photo: VNA)

Dak Lak (VNA) – There are only 60 domestic elephants and around 100 wild ones alive in Vietnam, with most of them living in Dak Lak, Dong Nai and Nghe An provinces, it was reported at a conference on elephant conservation on January 11.

At the event in the Central Highland province of Dak Lak, the Vietnam Administration of Forestry said the elephants in the country are facing a high risk of extinction. According to the agency, the natural habitat for elephants is diminishing resulting in increasing clashes between the animals and humans, while poaching of elephants for their tusks has not been stopped. The domesticated elephants are aging and not a single one of them has reproduced during the past many years.

To address the situation, the Vietnamese government has issued several policies aimed at preserve the domestic elephant herd, including a master plan for 2013-2020.

Deputy Director General of the Vietnam Administration of Forestry Cao Chi Cong said he hopes managers and experts will share experience and propose solutions to protect and develop the elephant population in Vietnam.   

Erin Ivory, an expert on animal care, urged measures to stop poaching and ensure the natural living habitat for elephants. For the domesticated elephants, she suggested improving health care for them and limiting the use of the animals in tourism. The expert also proposed more efforts to help them breed.

Representatives from international organisations and experts presented their research on the management of elephants in captivity and the use of elephants in tourism, among other issues.

In the framework of the conference, participants will tour an elephant rescue and breeding facility in Buon Don district, Dak Lak province.

Last December, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and Vietnamese nature authorities kicked off an emergency project to protect the biggest herd of elephants in the country from extinction.

The project is being undertaken by WWF Vietnam and the Yok Don National Park in Dak Lak province, focusing on the enforcement of environmental law and mitigation of human and elephant conflicts.-VNA