A mature elephant was found dead Wednesday near a lake and a stream in the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak.
Local residents found the elephant when catching fish in the stream in Ea Sup District.
The body was stinking and its bones were broken into pieces, they said. Officials surmised that the elephant had been trampled on and killed by others in the herd, making it hard to identify the animal's gender.
Many trees in the area had been felled, suspectedly by the other elephants, they added.
Dak Lak Province is home to the largest wild elephant population in Vietnam. Ethnic minorities in the province have a tradition of domesticating the animal.
Provincial figures late last year estimated it had between 83 and 100 wild elephants and 61 domesticated ones.
The province plans to set up a 200-hectare sanctuary for elephants this year at a cost of VND58 billion (US$3.05 million).