A 40-year-old female elephant which had carried tourists around for many years was found dead, possibly of hunger, in a forest in the Central Highlands of Vietnam, authorities said Friday.
The decaying carcass of the tame elephant, which was named H’Yaly, was found by its owner, Y Bich Nie, in the Yok Don National Park in Daklak Province on Thursday.
No injuries were found on the elephant, news website VietNamNet quoted the Dak Lak elephant conservation center’s officials as saying. They said it might have died because of hunger.
Nie, who lived in Krong Na Commune, Daklak Province, said he took H’Yaly to the park on May 30 and let it feed itself there.
Not seeing the elephant return home as usual, on June 24 Nie and his family went to the forest to search for it and found the carcass.
Nie said H’Yaly, worth about VND400 million (US$18,750), had carried tourists in the Ban Don Tourism Center for years.
In 2012, another elephant of Nie, which had also ferried tourists for years, “died of unnatural cause,” VietNamNet reported.
Police are investigating the cause of H’Yaly’s death.
Dak Lak has the largest elephant population, both domesticated and wild, in Vietnam.
But few of 50 domesticated elephants in the province have given birth due to old age, overwork in the tourist trade, and the lack of large spaces needed for courtship and reproduction while the wild population of between 80 and 100 faces an escalating threat of poaching and habitat loss.
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