A VND58-billion-plus (US$3.2 million) project to preserve elephants in the central highlands province of Dak Lak will be launched next year after receiving approval from provincial authorities.
The five-year plan will include a 200-hectare preservation center at the local Yok Don National Park and a well-equipped veterinarian hospital, according to a conference on the project held in the provinceââ‚¬â„¢s Buon Ma Thuot Town last Tuesday.
Most of the representatives from related agencies and experts agreed with the project initiated by the Tay Nguyen University, saying they would recommend that the provincial agencies approve it.
They said it would allocate forest land for elephants and help enhance the communityââ‚¬â„¢s awareness of the need to protect the animal.
Nguyen Anh Quoc, coordinator of the World Wildlife Fund Vietnam, said it was very likely that WWF would help the plan seek international sponsors.
According to the Tay Nguyen University, there are 83-110 wild elephants living in Dak Lak at present. Domestic elephants, meanwhile, number 61.
ââ‚¬Å“Although the statistics give a bright side of Dak Lakââ‚¬â„¢s wild elephant population as well as that of Vietnam, the elephants are facing many threats,ââ‚¬ Associate Professor Bao Huy, who led the team formulating the plan, told the meeting held by the university in cooperation with the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
The threats include human encroachment of their habitat and poaching, although Vietnam has just included the elephants under the list of animals that cannot be banned or commercially used, said Ha Cong Binh, head of Dak Lakââ‚¬â„¢s Agricultural Division.
So far, no project to preserve elephants has been launched in the country, Binh said.
Reported by T.N.Quyen