Asian Elephant - Voi châu Á


Figure 1. Elephant in Cashew Plantation in buffer zone of Dong Nai Nature and Cultural Reserve (Photo: Nguyen Hoang Hao)

Status of Asian Elephant in Vietnam:

Asian elephant Elephas maximus is one of the most endangered large animals in the Earth. The species is ranked at endangered (EN) in IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Vietnam once had high abundance of Asian elephant. However, status of Asian elephant in Vietnam now becomes critically endangered. The population is estimated only about 100 - 114 individuals and scattersely distributed in eight (8) provinces including Son La, Nghe An, Ha Tinh, Quang Nam, Dak Lak, Lam Dong, Dong Nai and Binh Phuoc provinces. They live by very small and isolated groups of 1-5 individuas. There are only three (3) populations with more than 10 ind. including 1) Yok Don NP - Ea Soup District area (Dak Lak Province): about 60-80 ind., 2) Pu Mat NP (Nghe An Province): about 11 ind. and 3) Cat Tien NP - Dong Nai NCR (Dong Nai Province): 10-11 ind. All groups are facing with high threat of extinction due to habitat loss/degradation and ever increasing human elephant conflict.

HEC was increased during 10-15 recent years. In many places, the conflict even threats the life of local residents and a number of people was killed or badly wounded by the elephants. HEC occurs in almost all areas where the elephants exist and the most serious in Yok Don NP - Ea Soup area, Cat Tien NP - Dong Nai NCR and Pu Mat NP where the largest population of elephants in Vietnam. HEC caused great damage of crop, houses and plantations and killed a number of local residents. Except for habitat loss and degradation, un-controlled trade on elephant parts (tusks, tail hairs, foot skins) represents a significant threat to survival of extant elephant populations in Vietnam.

Figure 2. Mango plantation in buffer zone of Dong Nai Nature and Cultural NR was destroyed by elephants (Photo: Nguyen Hoang Hao)

Elephant conservation in Vietnam:

Vietnam Government has approved a number of strategic measures to urgently conserve and develop extant wild and captive elephant populations in Vietnam. Three provinces which has the largest elephant populations (Dak Lak, Dong Nai and Nghe An) have also developed their specific conservation projects to conserve the elephant populations in each provinces. However, conservation of wild Asian elephants in Vietnam remains challengeable due to many factors including lack of strong financial from Vietnam Government and low capacity of elephant conservation organizations.

CeREC is actively involving in conservation of Asian Elephant conservation in Vietnam through supporting Vietnamese elephant conservation agencies in assessment of elephant population status and conflicts, ecological requirement studies, and capacity building on elephant monitoring and mitigation of human elephant conflict

Figure 3. Elephant conflict assessing Team at Yok Don NP, Dak Lak Province (Photo: Luong Viet Hung fromWWF - Vietnam)

Publication & Reports: 

Nguyen Xuan Dang, Tran Xuan Cuong, Vo Cong Tuan Anh (2015). Report on investigation of site for contruction of elephant preventing trench in Pu Mat National Park, Nghe An Province. Download Pdf
Nguyen Xuan Dang (2015). An overview of conservation status of wild asian elephant (elephas maximus) in Vietnam. Download Pdf
Nguyen Xuan Dang (2016). Assessment of Human - Elephant Conflict in York Don National Park, Dak Lak Province and Proposed TOR for Elephant Monitoring Teams. Download Pdf