Herd of endangered elephants found in Quang Nam hinh anh 1Asian elephants found living in a forest in Quang Nam province (Photo courtesy of USAID)

Quang Nam (VNS/VNA) - A herd of eight Asian elephants – an endangered species listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) – has been found living in an elephant conservation area in Nong Son district, central Quang Nam province.

Deputy head of the provincial ranger and forest protection sub-department Tu Van Khanh confirmed that elephants had been found in a conservation zone following a biodiversity evaluation programme launched in February.

According to the report, the herd includes a mature male, one semi-mature male, three mature females and two semi-mature females, and a one-year-old calf.

It said the herd had the basic structure to grow in the south of the conservation zone in the near future.

In a previous survey released a few years ago, at least five elephants were found living in a forest in Que Lam commune in the same district following samples of dung and footprints.

The elephant protection area, launched in 2017, is part of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded Green Annamites Project.

This protected area covers 19,000 hectares of critical habitat for one of the last groups of endangered Asian elephants in the province.

The US Government through USAID is working with Quang Nam’s leaders to improve the livelihoods of locals living in and around the protected area, conduct biodiversity monitoring, and raise conservation awareness among locals.

Vietnam has established a system of 176 protected areas starting with the first national park, Cuc Phuong, established in 1962.

The USAID Green Annamites Project, working in tandem with provincial authorities, will engage small-holder farmers and their families to improve livelihoods and increase investment in climate-smart agriculture while conserving natural biodiversity.

Vietnam has around 100 Asian elephants living in the wild./.