Dong Nai Province makes effort to conserve wild Asian elephants
The number of the herd of Asian elephants in Dong Nai Province discovered through the investigation of the elephant conservation project in the province between 2014 to 2020 is 14. Thanks to relentless efforts to conserve staff in the Dong Nai Forest Protection Department, the herd of Asia's elephants is growing well with about 20 ones.
The elephants live mainly in the Cat Tien National Park in Tan Phu District, the Dong Nai Nature-Cultural Conservation Area in Vinh Cuu District, and forest land owned by La Nga Forestry Company in Dinh Quan District.
As elephants are known to enjoy maize, sorghum, and other crops. They will cause damage when they enter settlement areas, which can occur when they get caught in fencing or during migratory movements. According to data from the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development of Dong Nai Province, from the beginning of 2022 to now, the elephants have appeared 19 times, raiding and destroying fields and crops of local residents in the core zone of the Dong Nai Nature - Culture Conservation Area. They also caused crop destruction in Dinh Quan District.
Local forest rangers recommend that inhabitants and authorities should chase them away, and at the same time make statistics of damage so that the People's Committees of districts can promptly have supportive policies.
Additionally, Dong Nai province spent VND85 billion(US$3,6 million) in 2017 to build electric fences with a length of 50km in Ma Da, Phu Ly in Vinh Cuu District, and Thanh Son Communes in Dinh Quan District to conserve elephants and prevent conflicts between elephants and humans.
Currently, wild elephants often appear in areas without electric fences. To prevent elephants, Dong Nai Province has plans to build an additional 25km of electric fences in hamlet 5 in Thanh Son Commune in Dinh Quan District extending to hamlet 4 in Ta Lai Commune and Dac Lua Commune in Tan Phu District.
The forest elephant habitat in Dong Nai Province is more than 42,000 ha, and the space for elephants to go out of the forest is within 400km.
For the rest of the province, people often plant rubber, elephants will not come out because there is no food. Therefore, electric fences can only be made in priority locations where a large number of people live.
Recently, the Vietnam Administration of Forestry and the Humane Society International in Vietnam handed over to the Dong Nai Forest Protection Department 10 cameras, 60 photo traps, and some other equipment to monitor elephants. The parties also agreed to cooperate in research on the ecology and sociology of elephants with the University of Forestry - Branch in Dong Nai Province to ensure the continuity and sustainability of the monitoring program and minimize conflict between elephants and humans.
According to Deputy Director General of the Vietnam Administration of Forestry Tran Quang Bao, elephants in Vietnam have declined dramatically over the past four decades, but after a lot of efforts to protect and develop, the elephant herd in Dong Nai Province has shown a good sign.
Currently, the Government has allowed the extension of the implementation of the ‘Master Plan on Conservation of Vietnamese Elephants to 2025’, which will create favorable conditions for Dong Nai Province to continue with solutions to conserve Asian elephants, contributing to the sustainable conservation of wild elephant populations in Vietnam.