Wild elephants destroyed a vast area of local crops. (Photo: VNA)

Dong Nai (VNA) – The 50km electric fence stretching across Vinh Cuu and Dinh Quan district in the southern province of Dong Nai has been unable to prevent wild elephants from looking for food in local farms.

According to the provincial Forest Protection Sub-department, since the beginning of the year, groups of wild elephants pushed past the fence, destroying a vast area of crops and orchard gardens and causing critical losses to local people.

Currently, two herds of elephants, with some six individuals each, are settled near the end of the electric fence, regularly approaching residential areas and trampling over their farming, said Le Viet Dung, deputy head of the department.

Dung said that 50km is not long enough, and that there is still space along the corridor between the residential area and wild elephants’ original habitat.

Conflicts between the elephants and people in Dong Nai province have been intensifying over recent years. The electric fence was erected in the locality as part of the Government’s project on urgent conservation of wild elephants in Dong Nai for 2014-2020.

The fence uses solar energy and a low voltage of 4.5-14 kV. Electricity is switched on and off frequently every third of a second, which helps keep the elephants at bay without inflicting harm on them.

Along the fence, there are many gates for local residents to pass through.

The fence, which was put into operation in July last year, initially prevented wild elephants from wandering into the residential areas of some 50,000 people in Vinh Cuu and Dinh Quan districts. Dung added that the fence has protected 16,000ha of forest land and orchard gardens.
 
The local Forest Protection Sub-department is asking the provincial People’s Committee and the Vietnam Administration of Forestry to allow construction of an additional 20km of electric fence at an estimated cost of 20 billion VND (880,000 USD).

Dong Nai province is home to some 14-16 wild elephants that are classified as endangered Asian animals in need of protection.-VNA