A herd of wild elephants have been ravaging farmers' fields in the southern province of Dong Nai for a week-and-a-half, according to local forest management authorities.
The elephants have eaten up fields of corn, sweet potatoes, cassava and sugarcane in Hamlet 2 near the Vinh Cuu Nature Reserve in Phu Ly Commune, Vinh Cuu District.
The elephants usually show up at midnight and stay until the following morning, the residents said, adding they may have been unable to find food in the forests during the dry season.
Dang Van Nhon, chief of Hamlet 2, said he had sought permission from district government to establish a quick-reaction team to instruct residents on how to avoid the elephants and to protect the animals from being killed by terrified residents.
The elephants are living in a protected forest of around 30,000 hectares in Dong Nai, stretching from Cat Tien National Park to the Vinh Cuu Nature Reserve.
At least nine elephants have died in Dong Nai forests since 2009.
Local authorities, however, have not made any official announcements about the exact reasons for the deaths.
According to conservation experts, a shrinking habitat and scarce food resources for elephants have led to conflicts between humans and elephants.
The Dong Nai Forest Management Department said there are only around 15 wild elephants left in the province.
Experts have warned that the wild elephant herd in Dong Nai may become extinct in the near future.