Elephants push back against human encroachment
  • | nld, dtinews.vn | December 17, 2014 04:28 PM
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A growing number of incidents involving elephants pushing back against human encroachment on their natural habitat has prompted the Ministry of Planning and Investment to step up a monitoring programme to limit conflict.

Under the VND74 billion (USD3.5 million) plan, the Dong Nai Natural and Cultural Reserve will be upgraded, with VND45 billion coming from the state and the balance from the provincial budget and other sources.

The Dong Nai Forest Ranger Unit said the province had 20 elephants about ten years ago, but only 11 are left in Dong Nai Natural and Cultural Reserve.

Elephants are dying of starvation in Dong Nai Province.

Local residents are concerned about the threat of elephant stampedes on their livelihoods. Villagers in Nghe An Province say the number of incidents of elephant attacks, at least one of them fatal, has been increasing due to the reduction of natural jungle, which is causing a food shortage for the wild pachyderms.

Authorities of Vinh Cuu District People's Committee say they use torches and gongs to chase the elephants away.

"From 2013 to the first nine months of 2014, there were 300 stampedes," a committee official said. "The stampedes destroyed 100 hectares of sugarcane, 50 hectares of cashew tree and other crops."

The elephant monitoring project is being put out to tender. About 30 kilometres of electric fencing will be erected in Vinh Cuu District to contain the elephants and protect local people and crops.

The fence, both solar powered and connected to 220V mains power, is to prevent elephants from entering certain areas, but will not inhibit the travel of other, smaller creatures. It is hoped the project can be completed within 12 months.

Tran Van Mui, director of Dong Nai Natural and Cultural Reserve, said reserves in other provinces are using similar methods.

Le Viet Dung, deputy head of Dong Nai Forest Ranger Unit said a more effective plan would be to relocate 1,200 households living in and near the reserve, but local authorities say such a measure would be too expensive due to the limited amount of funds available for wildlife management.

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