Another tourist elephant drops dead in Vietnam, allegedly of exhaustion

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A domestic elephant died last month in Dak Lak Province. File photo A domestic elephant died last month in Dak Lak Province. File photo

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A 43-year-old elephant that was used to carry holidaymakers in Vietnam died on May 7, the Dak Lak Elephant Conservation Center said, adding it is examining its carcass to find out what caused the death.
Na Lieng, the female elephant, collapsed and couldn't get up on March 29. Its owner, Buon Don Trading and Tourism Company in Dak Lak Province, informed the center, which sent its vets to try to save the animal.
However, it collapsed again on May 5 before succumbed two days later.
Tuoi Tre newspaper quoted Pham Van Lang, vice director of the center, as saying that Na Lieng may have died of diseases and exhaustion
Five domestic and one wild elephants in Dak Lak Province died so far this year.
Elephant tourism is popular in Vietnam, as well as in some other Southeast Asian countries, but attracts plenty of criticism and claims of animal cruelty.
According to a WWF report, the number of wild elephants in Vietnam has fallen from 2,000 in the 1980s to around 100 recently.
Home to one of the largest elephant herds, Dak Lak Province's forests used to be inhabited by more than 550 wild elephants in 1980. However, the number has significantly shrunk to five herds with a total of 60-65 individuals. Some 20 wild elephants have died since 2009.
The province has 42 domestic elephants and about 60-75 others in the wild.

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