VietNamNet Bridge – Dak Lak provincial authorities have allocated tens of thousands of hectares of forest land to private companies to grow rubber. The elephants’ house, therefore, has been devastated.
People encroach on elephants’ land
There are five herds of 60-70 wild elephants living in Dak Lak province. A herd of 22-24 individuals is living Ea Sup district, on the forest land area put under the management of Ia Lop afforestation yard, Ea H’mo and Rung Xanh Forestry Companies. In the dry season, the herd of elephants moves to Cambodia to look for food.
In Buon Don district, where there is a national park, there are four herds with 40-46 elephants. Though the national park is put under the strict control, the illegal wood exploitation and poaching occur regularly, thus affecting the living environment of the elephants.
Therefore, a herd of 25-27 elephants, residing mostly in the northern part of the Yok Don National Park, regularly move to the other areas of the park. While looking for food, they enter the cultivated land, destroying the crops in Ia R’ve and Ea Bung communes.
Nguyen Ngoc Phu, Head of the Ea Sup district’s agriculture sub-department, said most of the forest land area has been allocated to 11 private enterprises, which grow rubber on it and take the responsibility of protecting the forests.
However, the enterprises do not pay attention to the forest protection. People go to the forests clearing land for the cultivation.
“People have devastated elephants’ house. Therefore, they have to go to fields to seek food,” Phu said.
The deforestation and poaching has also made elephants more cruel. They are not afraid of facing people. They even attacked people.
In October 2012, a man in Ea Sup district was killed by a herd of elephants. In March 2011, a man in Ea H’leo district was also killed by an elephant.
Huynh Trung Luan, Director of the Dak Lak Elephant Conservation Center, affirmed that the herd of elephants that killed the man in Ea Sup district was the one, and two members of which were killed by the hunters in August 2012. After the two elephants died, the whole herd got panicky and they attacked people they met.
Wild elephants have gone
Some years ago, Dak Lak had 90-110 wild elephants. However, the Dak Lak Elephant Conservation Center recently announced that there are only five herds of 60-70 elephants are still living in the province, mostly in Yok Don National Park and Ea Sup district.
According to the Dak Lak provincial agriculture department, elephants are getting more ferocious and they tend to move to Cambodia as the living area has been affected.
Prior to 2012, wild elephants regularly appeared and devastated crops. However, they have not appeared recently. The primeval forests have been cleared and replaced with rubber plants, which has forced the elephants to move to other places.
Dr. Bao Huy from the Tay Nguyen University, Head of the research team of the elephant conservation project, said if local authorities want to protect the elephants, they need to reconsider the allocation of forests to private companies and create special use forests for them to live.