Vietnam to build sanctuary to protect elephants in central region

By Son Thuy   March 10, 2017 | 12:17 am PT
The number of elephants in Vietnam fell to around 160 in 2015 from 2,000 in 1980.

The central province of Quang Nam will build an elephant sanctuary between now and 2030, with an investment of nearly VND130 billion ($5.7 million), a provincial official said Thursday.

The reserve, which covers an area of 44,000 hectares (109,000 acres), is expected to protect elephants and expand their herd as well as other wildlife resources in Vietnam, said Le Chi Thanh, vice chairman of the provincial People's Committee, the local government.

“In the future we will develop eco tours and other tourist sites" at the area to help raise incomes for local people, he added.

Funding is expected from the state budget and contributions of businesses and international organizations.

Last December, the World Wild Fund for Nature (WWF) and nature authorities kicked off an emergency project to prevent elephants in Vietnam from extinction.

Data from the forestry administration showed that as of 2015, the country had around 160 elephants, both in the wild and in captivity, significantly falling from 2,000 species in 1980.

Those in captivity are often used to ferry tourists around the leafy forests of the Central Highlands. The elephants face difficulties in giving birth as they rarely get the chance for mating, not to mention malnutrition and overwork.

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