Elephants continue to damage crops as conservation project remains on paper
VietNamNet Bridge - While a project to conserve wild elephants is being drafted by the Dong Nai provincial authorities, the animals continue to damage farmers’ houses and crops fields every day.


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According to the Quick-reaction Task Force in Phu Ly commune of Vinh Cuu district, from January to April 2016, wild elephants entered residential quarters 69 times and caused 71 cases of crop damage. 

They damaged 4.7 hectares of cassava, 2.1 hectares of sugarcane and 22 tons of fruits.

While a project to conserve wild elephants is being drafted by the Dong Nai provincial authorities, the animals continue to damage farmers’ houses and crops fields every day.
Hoang Thi Thuy from Phu Ly commune complained that elephants ‘visited’ her house several times. They not only ate mango, but damaged 20 10-year-old trees that had brought a stable income.

Thuy said that each mango tree produces 100 kilos of fruit. With the average price of VND5,000 per kilo, Thuy can earn VND500,000 each crop. As such, Thuy loses about VND10 million a year, the main source of income of her family.

The local authorities, in an effort to help people ease difficulties, gave Thuy VND2 million. To receive the money, they had to follow a lot of procedures.

However, they understand that it was impractical to hope for a higher allowance. Therefore, they want the provincial authorities to install electric fences to prevent elephants from entering residential quarters.

Nguyen Van Cao, a farmer fro, Thanh Son commune, complained that elephants had entered the area 3-4 times and damaged his vast sugarcane fields. As a result, Cao could not pay his debts to banks.

In 2012-2013 alone, wild elephants attacked the crops fields of 100 households. To Van Tung and Nguyen Van Cao in the commune reported that their 70,000 square meters of sugarcane were damaged and they still owed VND64 million to banks.

In 2008-2013, the people’s committees of Vinh Cuu and Dinh Quan districts had to spend VND12 billion to support people in the areas attacked by elephants.

According to Nguyen Huu Dao from the forest rangers’ unit, in previous years, the allowances were bigger. 

For every hectare of sugar cane damaged, people could receive VND35 million and for every mango tree VND400,000. However, the allowances have been lower since 2013, VND3 million for every hectare of sugarcane damaged, and VND30,000 for every mango tree, which is enough to buy seedlings.

Therefore, despite the large damaged areas in 2013, people received VND620 million, while they received nothing in 2014.

Local people in previous years tried to scare elephants by knocking pots, but the method no longer helps. Now, they drive elephants away by lighting fires or creating blasts.


Chi Mai

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