Dak Lak sets up elephant conservation center

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The Dak Lak Province authorities have decided to set up an elephant conservation center as the number of pachyderms have dipped to critical levels in the Central Highlands.

The center will operate under the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development to protect both wild and domestic elephants, the Dak Lak newspaper reported Friday.

The center's major tasks would be to improve elephants' health, monitor their population and habitat, raise awareness of elephant conservation and propose actions to minimize conflicts between wild elephants and local residents.

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"Recently, many elephants have been poached or harmed because their tail hair has been a profitable commodity, besides their tusks," the paper said.

The number of tamed elephants in Dak Lak has decreased from 502 in 1980 to 166 in 1998 and to around 50 now.

The number of wild elephants, living in the forest between Dak Lak and Gia Lai provinces is very small and "insignificant", it said.

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