Last update 3/11/2012 9:55:00 AM (GMT+7)

Local authorities still busy themselves with plans to protect elephants and yew

VietNamNet Bridge – In 2011, the Dak Lak provincial people’s committee approved the elephant conservation project worth 61 billion dong, and the Artemisia conservation project worth 50 billion dong, in an effort to rescue and develop the last elephant and yew individuals in the Central Highlands.

Elephant conservation projects remain on… paper
Scientists say elephants seriously endangered

However, to date, no one can say for sure when the projects would begin.

Meanwhile, Dr Bao Huy from the Tay Nguyen University has warned that the slow implementation of the conservation projects would be a big disadvantage to the province, since a lot of foreign and domestic organizations now show their big interests in the conservation work.

The organizations will only provide capital, equipment and techniques to fund the projects if they can see with their eyes, the feasibility of the conservation projects. Meanwhile, Vietnam has to spend too much time on complicated procedures.

Regarding the elephant conservation project, 100 wild elephants and 51 domesticated elephants would be taken care and receive reproductive healthcare. It is expected that an area covering 200 hectares would be reserved for grazing elephants and growing the plants favorable to them. The project’s officers would be sent to Thailand, India and Sri Lanka to learn the experience for elephant breeding.

Meanwhile, the yew conservation project aims to have a sustainable development of the plants, which can serve the scientific research and people’s lives. Currently, the plants can be found at three places – Trap K’Sor in Krong Nang district (20 plants), Ea Ral in Ea H’Leo (200 plants) and Cu Ne in Krong Buk district (5 plants).

The two conservation projects have been drawn up after environmentalists rang alarm bells over the increasingly high number of killed elephants and chopped down trees.

According to Pham Quang Vinh, Head of the Ea H’Leo district’s Forest Ranger Unit, in 2009-2011, the unit discovered 18 cases in which illegal loggers exploited 6.3 cubic meters of yew timber. Tens of other cases were discovered in Krong Nang. In fact, the number of cases would have been higher.

Meanwhile, Do Ngoc Dung from the Dak Lak provincial Forest Management Sub-department, tens of domesticated elephants have had their tales cut since 2010, because people believe that they would have good luck with elephant tale feather.

In 2011 alone, five wild elephants died in the forests because of the accidents, while two domesticated elephants were killed.

Though the project was approved one year ago, the yew species & habitat conservation project still does not have a director. The problem lies in the fact that the district’s foreign management unit and the Krong Nang district’s party committee have not agreed about who to be appointed as the director.

Regarding the elephant conservation project, the Dak Lak provincial authorities asked for the permission to use 163 hectares of the Yok Don National Park for the elephant conservation center. However, the proposal was refused by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, which said that it would be better not to split natural ecosystems to get the land for an independent elephant center.

The ministry also emphasized that protecting elephants and other big animals is also an important task of the Yok Don National Park.

According to Huynh Trung Luan, Director of the Dak Lak Elephant Conservation Center, due to the lack of investment, the center’s head office is now located at the Yok Don Guest House, while there are only six officers in the center. In principle, the capital for the project implementation comes from three sources, the local budget, central budget and foreign organizations. However, to date, no capital has been funneled.

Source: NLD