Dong Nai farmers live in fear as elephants go on rampage

Local farmers in Thanh Son Commune, Dong Nai Province, have complained about their plants being destroyed by rampaging wild elephants.

  

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Plants destroyed by the elephants


The elephants rampage from October to May. This is the peak of the dry season and there's not enough food in the forest while the mango gardens are at their harvest season. A herd of five to six elephants appeared at around 5 pm when the farmers had returned home and destroyed the gardens while finding food.

Hoang Van Thanh from Hamlet 5 said, "In the past 20 years, whenever the mangoes are ripened, the elephants will go on a rampage so we have to stay guard at the garden but it's not effective."

In the first two months of 2019, 21 households had their gardens destroyed. Thanh and another farmer said the elephants had eaten about four tonnes of mangoes from each household. The elephants have also destroyed local houses, pipes and pumps.

"We’re afraid of the elephants because they are very aggressive. We used to use flashlights and kitchen utensils to make noises to chase them away. But then, they got used to those tactics and it's our turn to run," said Nguyen Thi Manh.

Dong Nai Province authorities have tried several measures to prevent the clash between elephants and human including a 53-km long electric fence. However, only 23km of the fence has been completed.

Pham Thi Huong, vice chairwoman of Thanh Son Commune, said, "Since early 2018, the elephants have come to the villages nearly 200 times, destroying the gardens and belongings of over 100 households which cost billions of VND. They have been coming to Hamlet 4, 5 and 7 which don't have the electric fence yet."

Dinh Quan District authorities said they were reviewing the damage to file a report with the provincial authorities for compensation and solutions. They need to complete the fence and plant more forest. Dong Nai Culture and Nature Reserve are also drafting a plan to provide food to the elephants during the dry season.

Lao Dong/Dtinews

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