Authorities in the central highlands province of Dak Lak have approved a VND61-billion (US$3.13 million) project to protect local elephants.
The project will include building a center to protect and care for both domestic and wild elephants. A hospital specifically for pachyderms and an institute for studying their reproduction will also be established.
Programs to increase locals' awareness of preserving traditional culture related to elephants will be part of the project.
The provincial budget will contribute VND14 billion to the project costs and the central government will provide over VND40 billion. The rest of the funds will be raised from international organizations.
Dak Lak authorities have said that the population of domestic elephants has decreased drastically over the last decade; from 166 in 1998 to 56 at present. Some reports, meanwhile, said between 80-110 wild elephants are living in Dak Lak.