Thursday, August 17, 2017

Giant electric fence shocks wild elephants away from farmland in southern Vietnam

Vietnam’s southern province of Dong Nai is looking to end clashes between farmers and elephants by keeping the animals at bay with electric fences.

Government officials in the province, which neighbors Saigon, have installed an electric fence that runs 50 kilometers (31 miles) as a barrier between local farms and residential areas and the elephants.

The fence has been in place for more than a month, and can release an electric charge of between 4.5 and 14 kilovolts, they said.

“The elephants tend to return to the jungle when they encounter the fence,” said Le Viet Dung, deputy chief of Dong Nai’s Forest Management Department.

Dung said the fence only emmits a short charge for a third of the second, which is not enough to harm the animals.

“It only scares the elephants and keeps them away,” he said.

The fence is part of a VND74 billion ($3.25 million) project started in 2013 aimed at protecting the giant beasts and avoiding deadly encounters with farmers.

According to figures from conservation organizations, Vietnam’s wild elephant population has shrunk by 95 percent since 1975 to less than 100. At least 23 wild elephants have died over the past seven years, and nearly 75 percent of them were less than a year old.

Experts said that plantations near their natural habitats are the biggest threat to their survival. The same problem has been reported in Yok Don Park in the Central Highlands, which is home to the largest group of wild elephants in Vietnam.

Van Ngoc Thinh, director of WWF Vietnam, said in a statement in December: “The big animals need a giant habitat, but theirs has become narrow and unsafe.”

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Saturday, August 05, 2017

More than 88,500 cases of smuggling in first half of 2017

Authorities collected 7.9 trillion VND (347.5 million USD) from administrative fines, selling off confiscated smuggled goods, and tax arrears, 40 percent more than the previous year’s first half.

According to National Steering Committee 389, the majority of smuggled goods fall into categories of essential consumer goods, heavily taxed goods, or goods banned for import, such as cocaine, explosives, tobacco, cosmetics, petrol and gas, elephant tusks or rhino horns, among others.

Some notable cases include an interception of 7,800 foreign cigarette packs in the southern province of Long An, or confiscation of 26kg rhino horns and 6kg of elephant tusks in Hanoi, and apprehension of 20 ships illegally transporting 3.5 million litres of gas.

The information was released last week at a steering committee meeting chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh.

The steering committee noted that smuggling continues unabated despite heightened efforts to stem it, especially in border areas, where criminals take advantage of hard-to-access locations and transporting the goods on hidden trails or along small streams sheltered by thick forest.

On the maritime front, smuggling of petrol and gas has been on the rise, the committee said, since Vietnam’s current gas price is higher than in some other countries in the region. The criminals’ favoured modus operandi is using foreign ships to transport oil and gas to Vietnam’s maritime borders and then splitting the stock among different Vietnamese fishing boats.

The Deputy PM said strict legislation must be adopted to “remove or reassign leaders showing signs of aiding and abetting smuggling, counterfeit products and trade fraud.”

He added that anti-smuggling efforts are “an important and permanent political duty to be carried out by all levels of the government,” and that there will be no “zero tolerance” in this matter.

The Deputy PM also said that attention must be focused on transnational criminal groups to protect domestic production.

“Culprits order goods from China, bring them back into the country, slap ‘Made in Vietnam’ labels on them and sell them to unsuspecting customers,” according to Le Hong Son, Vice Chairman of Hanoi People’s Committee and member of the Steering Committee 389.

He said previously, the counterfeit products were usually of luxury brands, however the range is now increasingly diverse, from sweets and lightbulbs to clothes.

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Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Wild Elephants Re-Appear In Quang Nam Province

According to Nguyen Ngoc Nguyen, conduct of Nong Son District’s timberland government board, some days ago, people of Que Lam Commune saw 7 elephants during a area adjacent Phuoc Ninh Commune.

The area where a elephants were seen belongs to an 18,977-hectare timberland where an VND128 billion (USD5.8 million) elephant charge site is designed to be built. Besides elephants, a timberland is home to many other singular furious animals such as langurs, gibbons and chamois.

This elephant flock was speckled during Que Lam Commune’s Cam La Village in Feb this year. Earlier, in Jun final year, locals in Que Lam Commune also found 6 elephants wading by a tide in Cam La Village.

Authorities of Nong Son District have warned internal people not to rivet in clashes or try to follow a elephants divided for their possess safety.

According to a Vietnam Administration of Forestry, Nong Son District is one of 15 areas in a nation that still have populations of furious elephants.

The series of furious elephants in a nation has depressed to 100. Vietnam already has 3 elephant charge sites in Nghe An, Dak Lak and Dong Nai provinces, a administration reported.

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Thursday, July 06, 2017

Elephant tusks, leopard skins smuggled from Africa to Vietnam

Vietnamese customs officers on Sunday spotted elephant tusks and tails, leopard skins, and wild animals' claws in the luggage of an old local woman who flied from an African country to Ho Chi Minh City.

Checking the personal luggage of a 65-year-old passenger who landed at the Tan Son Nhat international airport, the officers found nearly four kg of elephant tusks, nine elephant tails, three leopard skins and many claws, the municipal Customs Department said, noting that the smuggled items are valued at over 2 billion Vietnamese dong (some 90,000 U.S. dollars).

Over the past four weeks, the airport's customs officers detected several cases of smuggling rhino horns, elephant tusks and pangolin scales worth over 10 billion Vietnamese dong (nearly 450,000 U.S. dollars) from Africa to the city.

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Thursday, May 18, 2017

Elephant tusks, leopard skins smuggled from Africa seized at airport

HCM CITY – Tân Sơn Nhất airport customs officers on Sunday found elephant tusks and tails, leopard skins, and wild animal claws worth VNĐ2 billion (US$90,000) in the luggage of a Vietnamese woman who had been on a flight from Africa to HCM City.

The name of the woman was not disclosed.

Checking the luggage of the 62-year-old passenger, the officers found nearly four kilogrammes of elephant tusks, nine elephant tails, three leopard skins and many claws, all of which were from animals listed in the Red Book, according to the HCM City Customs Department.

Last month, the airport’s customs officers detected several smuggling cases of rhino horns, elephant tusks and pangolin scales worth a total of over VNĐ10 billion ($450,000), transported from Africa to HCM City.

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Monday, May 15, 2017

Elephants die of starvation in Vietnamese

Several elephants that were used to serve tourists in central highlands Dak Lak Province have died for unknown reasons while grazing in the forest.

On June 27, the Dak Lak Elephant Conservation Centre said local people had found the body of an elephant at the Yon Don National Park in Buon Don District. The elephant’s body was already decomposing.

After investigation, local authorities in Buon Don District found that the dead elephant was a 40-year-old female named H’Yaly. It is under the management of Y Bich Nie, a local man from Krong Na Commune’s EaMar Highlands Village.

The elephant is estimated to have been dead for around one month. No injuries were found on the body. It’s likely that the elephant died of starvation.

The elephant’s owner, Y Bich, said, “I released the elephant to the forest to graze on May 30. However, it had not returned by June 24, so we decided to go into the forest to look for it. There we found its body.”

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Thursday, May 11, 2017

Customs at Tan Son Nhat airport seize products from elephant tusks

Customs officers at the Tan Son Nhat International Airport in HCM City on May 4 discovered over 4kg of products from elephant tusks and pangolin scales illegally transported from Africa to Vietnam.

The products included bracelets and jewellery suspected of being made of African elephant tusks and 200 grams of pangolin scales, worth about VND250 million (about US$11 million).

They were hidden in the luggage of a 34 year-old woman on a flight from Angola to Ho Chi Minh City.

The exhibits are being kept by the airport’s customs officers and the case is under investigation.

Earlier, on April 16, customs at the Tan Son Nhat airport along with authorised agencies uncovered 5kg of smuggled rhino horns.

Vietnam has banned the trading of elephant tusks since 1992.

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Vietnam police arrest suspects for smuggling rhino horns, elephant tusks, tiger carcasses

Vietnamese police officers have just put three suspects in criminal detention after finding them smuggling wildlife earlier this week.

The suspects in question are Nguyen Mau Chien, Nguyen Van Tung, and Nguyen Ngoc Dung, all hailing from the north-central province of Thanh Hoa.

Chien, Tung and Dung were caught red-handed transporting more than 30kg of rhino horns at the Hanoi Gas Station on April 27.

Police then searched Chien’s living place and discovered 3kg of rhino horn, two frozen tiger carcasses, elephant tusks, lion skin, and some other products made from elephant tusk.

Chien admitted to police officers that he and his nephews, Tung and Dung, had bought the wildlife from South Africa and shipped them to Malaysia.

They then transported them to Ho Chi Minh City before taking them to Hanoi for consumption.

Investigators believe Chien is just part of a larger ring smuggling wildlife so they are expanding their probe.

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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Dong Nai farmers lose crops due to wild elephants

Farmers in the southern province of Dong Nai are complaining about their crops being damaged by a large herd of hungry wild elephants.

According to forest rangers in Dinh Quan District, a herd of between 12-15 wild elephants made some 7-8 visits to 28 farms between February and March this year and destroyed everything there, despite the efforts of local farmers to chase them away.

A local farmer, Nguyen Van Khoi, said wild elephants ate up over 400 banana trees which are valued at VND40 million (USD1.764) in just one night on March 10.

“My bananas were all nearly ripe and we had expected a large crop but then we lost everything in a single night,” Khoi said.

Another farmer, Ngo Quang Truong complained about dozens of 10-year-old cashew trees together with many farming tools being destroyed by the elephants.

Farmer Do Van Dinh suffered the biggest losses with a three-hectare farm with 1,500 banana trees, 300 black pepper trees, among others totally destroyed when the hungry wild animals came out of the forest to seek for food.

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Friday, April 21, 2017

Elephants die of starvation in Vietnamese forests

Several elephants that were used to serve tourists in central highlands Dak Lak Province have died for unknown reasons while grazing in the forest.

Tourist elephant found dead in forests
On June 27, the Dak Lak Elephant Conservation Centre said local people had found the body of an elephant at the Yon Don National Park in Buon Don District. The elephant’s body was already decomposing.

After investigation, local authorities in Buon Don District found that the dead elephant was a 40-year-old female named H’Yaly. It is under the management of Y Bich Nie, a local man from Krong Na Commune’s EaMar Highlands Village.

The elephant is estimated to have been dead for around one month. No injuries were found on the body. It’s likely that the elephant died of starvation.

The elephant’s owner, Y Bich, said, “I released the elephant to the forest to graze on May 30. However, it had not returned by June 24, so we decided to go into the forest to look for it. There we found its body.”

According to him, an H’Yaly elephant is estimated to be worth VND400 million (USD18,788) and his family has signed an elephant tourism service contract with Ban Don Tourism Centre.

In 2012, another elephant owned by Y Bich also died for unknown reasons.

In April 2014, a 62-year-old male elephant from Ho Lak Tourism Area was also found dead near a local lake after being released to graze.

Authorities are still investigating before pronouncing any official cause of the animals’ deaths.

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Starving elephants go on rampage

Lack of food has caused wild elephants in Nghe An Province to trample through a number of villages recently.

Nghe An is one of three provinces with the largest population of wild elephants in Vietnam. Still, the species is on the brink of extinction, with only about 17 elephants in the province.

In 2011, a small herd of elephants killed a villager in Luc Da Commune when the man tried to chase them away. In 2013, the elephants destroyed crops in Phuc Son Commune and killed a villager who crossed their path. In March six elephants were foraging in Cao Veu 3 Village and destroyed 10ha of sugarcane and other crops.

Local people said more and more elephants have stampeded because forestland is decreasing, causing food shortages.

Nguyen Huu Minh, chairman of Phuc Son Commune People’s Committee said, “We have transferred 4,000 ha of forestland to a company for a rubber plantation. This area had bamboo and banana trees, which provide food of the elephants. Without a food source, the elephants are beginning to come into villages.”

The elephants are also threatened by poachers. There are now three herds living in Nghe An Province. According to the Institute of Ecology and Biological Resources’ reports on elephants in Pu Mat National Park, since 1995 at least nine elephants were shot or killed by dynamite.

The people of Phuc Son used dynamite to kill three elephants when they stampede the village in 1996. A few years later, two elephants were found dead without their tusks. Another elephant was killed for its tusks in 2011. The director of Pu Mat National Park said the elephants are still reproducing, but without proper protection mature elephants will continue to be killed.

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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Measures proposed to conserve wild elephants in Dong Nai

There are 14 elephants living in an area of some 53,000 hectares in Vinh Cuu, Dinh Quan and Tan Phu districts, according to the province’s forest protection division.

Le Viet Dung, deputy head of the division, suggested two plans to prevent consanguineous mating among the elephants. The first is to ask for the Vietnam Administration of Forestry’s permission to bring some elephants in other localities to Dong Nai to mate with local ones.

The other plan is promoting international cooperation in the work, he said, elaborating that Dong Nai can mate its elephants with others in regional countries.

The elephant herd in Dong Nai was seen most recently in Thanh Son commune of Dinh Quan district in late March.

Local residents said the animals often come to their farms to find food, destroying a large area of fruit trees such as mango, cashew, banana and sugar cane.

The forest protection division is carrying out an emergency elephant conservation project with a total cost of 85 billion VND (3.75 million USD).

Accordingly, about 50km of electric fence will be built in Tan Phu, Dinh Quan and Vinh Cuu districts to prevent the conflict between elephants and human.

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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Wild elephants spotted in Quang Nam

Tran Van Sang, Chairman of Nong Son District’s Que Lam People’s Committee, said that many people in Cam La Village saw the elephants near their fields after the Tet holiday. They shot a short video clip and took photos of the elephants to report their presence to local authorities.

The herd, which includes a small elephant, has been seen in Cam La Village’s forest area many times, worrying people.

Sang said that the commune warned local people not to bother the elephants.

They are also provided with some skills to safely drive the elephants away.

According to the Vietnam Administration of Forestry, Nong Son District is one of 15 areas in the country that still have populations of wild elephants. Earlier, Quang Nam Province submitted a proposal to the administration to establish an elephant conservation site in the district, aiming to help conserve the wild population and reduce human-elephant conflicts.

The Vietnam Administration of Forestry’s Environment Conservation Department said that wild elephant population in Vietnam has been on the fall because of loss of habitat and poaching.

In natural forests, there is not enough food for them to survive and so they have to move to the surrounding cultivated areas to forage for food, sparking off conflicts with humans, he said.

The department estimates that there are around 100 wild elephants in the country.

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Friday, March 24, 2017

Vietnam seeks ways to protect elephants

VietNamNet Bridge – Vietnam is estimated to have 120 wild elephants and 45 domesticated ones, which are feared to disappear one day from the country without timely conservation action.

As wild elephants in Vietnam are on the verge of extinction, the World Wide Fund for Nature in Vietnam, better known as WWF Vietnam, and Yok Don National Park (YDNP) have pledged to embark on an emergency action plan until 2020 to protect elephants in the area.

WWF Vietnam said in a press release that the aim is to enhance law enforcement and minimize human-elephant conflict by taking into account the seasonal migration patterns of elephants and forest-reliant livelihoods for locals.

In fact, the launch of an elephant conservation program in Vietnam is an urgent step, as local authorities have seized tons of ivory smuggled into Vietnam. This had raised public concerns that smugglers will turn to domestic ivory supplies to meet their demand.

Early this year, there were 48 tamed elephants in Daklak Province, but three have died. Meanwhile, the number of wild elephants is estimated at some 120, with around 70 in YDNP alone, said the national steering committee of the elephant conservation.

The country’s herd of wild elephants has declined by a sharp 95% in 40 years from 1975 to 2015. In Daklak alone, at least 23 wild elephants have been found dead in the 2009-2016 period, accounting for 25% of the total, of which nearly 75% are less-than-12-month ones, according to the Vietnam Administration of Forestry under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

The Central Highlands is home to the largest forest elephant population in Vietnam, making up 70% of the total. Therefore, the protection of the elephants in the area will be the most effective conservation solution to Vietnam’s Asian wild elephants.

Van Ngoc Thinh, country director of WWF Vietnam, said elephants require large-scale and seamless wildlife habitats to live and develop. Their living environment and migration corridors have been increasingly narrow and unsafe.

To protect elephants, WWF Vietnam will apply the spatial monitoring and reporting tool (SMART) to measure data, monitor elephant herds and relevant conservation activities at the park.

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Thursday, March 23, 2017

Vietnamese elephants to be extinct in next 10 years

The warning came after a series of elephants have been killed or died of unknown reasons.

According to recent statistics, nine adult wild elephants have died in Vietnam since 2009.

Scott Roberton attributed the murder of wild animals to the ineffective implementation of Vietnam’s regulations on wildlife preservation. In addition, he said, there are no clear messages from functional agencies about wild animal-related crimes.

Mr Roberton said that many other species of wild animals, including primates, turtles and tigers, will also be in danger of extinction.

If no drastic measures are taken by functional agencies, more wild animals will disappear in Vietnam in the near future, he added.

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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Vietnam seizes 2 tons of smuggled elephant tusks

More than 2 tons of ivory tusks, hidden inside a container imported from Malaysia, were found by customs authorities in the northern port city of Hai Phong.

Nguyen Kien Giang, director of division 3 of Hai Phong Customs, said on Wednesday that after noticing the suspicious looking container, customs officers decided to scan and open it for inspection last week.

The customs declaration for the 40’ container claimed it held 27.5 tons of sea shells, but in fact, it was packed with elephant tusks and other goods banned from importation.

Each of these tusks were cut into three or four pieces, customs officer said.

The writer of the declaration is the one-member branch of the Hai Phong Trading, Services, Import and Export LC located in Quang Ninh Province, who insisted that the container is classified as goods temporarily imported for re-export.

In fact, the branch has made another customs declaration for re-exporting the container to China via northern Lang Son Province.

The value of the tusks has yet to determined, but customs officers said a haul of 769 kg ivory tusks in Hong Kong had an estimated sale price of US$1.49 million last week.

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Elephant reportedly dies of exhaustion while serving tourists in Vietnam; gayal drops dead

A 40-year-old elephant has died while serving travelers at a tourist site in the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak, while a gayal has also beathed its last in Ninh Thuan Province in the south-central region.

The People’s Committee of Krong Na Commune, Buon Don District in Dak Lak said on Sunday that local agencies have made a report about the death of the elephant.

The animal died of exhaustion while serving tourists at the Ban Don tourist area, according to news website VietNamNet.

Another news website reported that the animal met its end while carrying tourists in the site.

Competent agencies examined the body before destroying it according to current regulations.

The dead animal was owned by Y Ka Tuk, a local man, who has conducted an offering ceremony for it in accordance with local traditional customs.

When alive, the elephant was worth VND700 million (US$32,830).

On January 15 in the same province, another tamed elephant, which was 36 years old, fell down a hill and slipped away.

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Elephants in Dak Lak become more aggressive as loss of habitat continues

According to the Dak Lak provincial Elephant Conservation Center, there are five groups of elephants living in the province, with 60-70 in each group.

In Ea Sup district alone, there is one group of 30-34, while in Buon Don district, there are four groups with 30-36 elephants each.

A survey conducted by the center found that the number of elephant groups in Dak Lak has decreased.

A survey conducted by the center found that the number of elephant groups in Dak Lak has decreased.

Problems that threaten the sustainability of the elephants have also been identified, including an imbalance in the age structure and the ratio of male/female elephants.

The overwhelming majority of the elephants are old, while there are few young and mature individuals and more females than males. The factors will make it difficult to implement an elephant protection and conservation project.

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Sunday, March 19, 2017

Quang Nam province to spend over VND128 billion for elephant conservation

The Quang Nam provincial People’s Committee has adopted the establishment of an elephant conservation project on an area of nearly 19,000 hectares in Phuoc Ninh and Que Lam communes, Nong Son district.

Accordingly, the conservation area includes 23 sub-zones, including over 13,400 hectares of strict protection, over 5,500 hectares of the ecological recovery, and nearly 25,000 hectares of buffer zone, which lies in 22 villages in 5 districts.
Le Tri Thanh, Vice Chairman of the Quang Nam provincial People’s Committee, stressed that the establishment of the elephant conservation aims to conserve and develop the Asian elephant species in Vietnam, contributing to realizing the Government’s targets in protecting the environment and biodiversity, and sustainably developing wildlife resources.

Quang Nam province plans to protect, maintain and develop a population of 5-7 elephant individuals living in the locality, safeguard their living habitat, and restore and develop living environment and food to receive single elephant individuals from other areas.

The project will use over VND128 billion until 2030./.

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Thursday, March 16, 2017

Vietnam presses charges against worker over African ivory smuggling

If convicted, the man could face up to five years in prison for smuggling elephant tusks.
A Vietnamese man has been formally charged with smuggling ivory from Angola, VietnamPlus reported, citing Hanoi prosecutors.

The case is part of Vietnam’s efforts to put an end to ivory smuggling, which has been so prevalent that the country is ranked one of the world’s biggest markets. It outlawed ivory trade in 1992.

In August 2015 customs and police seized 24 pieces of elephant tusks weighted 50 kilograms (110 pounds) from the suitcase of Pham Van Luat, who failed to declare with customs officials of the goods, VietnamPlus reported.

Investigations found Luat went to work at a photocopy shop in Angola in 2012 and was offered $200 to bring the ivory back home, the report said.

Upon the seizure, Luat managed to escape, but last December he turned himself in.

If convicted, Luat could face a jail term of between six months and five years, based on Vietnam's penal code.

The usage and trading of rhino horns, mostly from Africa, is a criminal offence in the Southeast Asian country, but demand is strong as many people believe rare animal parts can cure diseases.

Vietnam also serves as a trafficking hub for tusks bound for other parts of Asia, conservationists say.

Hanoi has rejected such allegations but has also stepped up the fight against smuggling and launched campaigns to raise public awareness about the usage of rhino horns.

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Dozens of elephants exhausted after Tet holiday overworking

Over 40 elephants in Dak Lak Province have been left exhausted after being forced to overwork through the lunar new year holiday period.

Le Thi Thanh Ha, director of Ban Don Eco-tourism Company, said it received 7,000 visitors this Tet and 70% of them wanted to ride elephants. Over 40 elephants were used at various well-known destinations in Dak Lak.

About 30,000 visitors arrived in Buon Don tourism site and most of them wanted to ride elephants. Dozens of people queued up in order to ride the elephants along the Serepok River. 15 elephants had to move around non-stop to meet demand. Several elephants were too tired and didn’t want to go to the forest again, they were poked by the trainers. Each elephant carried three to four visitors as they walked slowly from exhaustion.

“When they are stubborn, I use this iron bar to poke them. They immediately follow my order,” one trainer said.

Nguyen Phuong Nam, a visitor from HCM City said, “We came here to ride the elephant and with VND200,000 (USD9) our family had one ride with some photos. But next time we won’t ride the elephant anymore. It looked tired and pitiful.”

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Friday, March 10, 2017

Vietnam to build sanctuary to protect elephants in central region

The number of elephants in Vietnam fell to around 160 in 2015 from 2,000 in 1980.

The central province of Quang Nam will build an elephant sanctuary between now and 2030, with an investment of nearly VND130 billion ($5.7 million), a provincial official said Thursday.

The reserve, which covers an area of 44,000 hectares (109,000 acres), is expected to protect elephants and expand their herd as well as other wildlife resources in Vietnam, said Le Chi Thanh, vice chairman of the provincial People’s Committee, the local government.

“In the future we will develop eco tours and other tourist sites” at the area to help raise incomes for local people, he added.

Funding is expected from the state budget and contributions of businesses and international organizations.

Last December, the World Wild Fund for Nature (WWF) and nature authorities kicked off an emergency project to prevent elephants in Vietnam from extinction.

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Friday, March 03, 2017

Vietnam seizes illegal ivory shipment

Around 350kg of ivory hidden in a shipping container has been seized in Vietnam, an official said today (Feb. 21), the first major bust of the illegally-trafficked product this year.

Although the ivory trade has been banned in Vietnam since 1992, the country remains a top market for ivory products prized locally for its purported decorative and medicinal purposes.

The country is also a busy thoroughfare for tusks trafficked from Africa destined for other parts of Asia.

The latest ivory haul was discovered in the Soc Son District of Hanoi, according to customs officials. They said laboratories were testing the 350-kilogramme haul to definitely conclude if they are elephant tusks

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Thursday, March 02, 2017

Experts emphasize elephant conservation

VietNamNet Bridge – Only around 100 wild elephants, and an additional 60 in captivity, remain in Viet Nam, with most living in Dak Lak, Dong Nai and Nghe An provinces, a conference on elephant conservation heard on Wednesday.

At the three-day event in the Central Highland province of Dak Lak, which ends on Friday, the Viet Nam Administration of Forestry said elephants in the country face a high risk of extinction. According to the agency, the natural habitat for elephants is diminishing; resulting in an increased number of clashes between the animals and humans, while the poaching of elephants for their tusks continues. The domesticated elephants are aging and not a single one has reproduced over the last few years.

To address the situation, the Vietnamese Government has issued several policies aimed at preserving the domestic elephant herd, including a master plan for 2013-2020.

Deputy Director General of the Viet Nam Administration of Forestry, Cao Chi Cong, said he hoped managers and experts would share their experiences and propose solutions to protect and develop the elephant population in Viet Nam.

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Saturday, February 18, 2017

Vietnam's Elephants on the Brink of Extinction

A conservation center in Dak Lak province in the Central Highlands may be Vietnam's last hope to save its elephants.

AFP reports on the Dak Lak Elephant Conservation Center, which aims to create a small herd of elephants in order to build a sustainable population.

According to the news source, the country's elephant population is an extremely precarious position. Fewer than 100 animals remain in the wild, while around 80 are in captivity. In 1980, up to 2,000 elephants roamed the country, National Geographic shares.

Tuan Bendixsen, director of Animals Asia Vietnam, tells AFP that "at the rate they're going now, within a generation or so we'll probably lose the elephants."

He goes on: "As the number gets smaller and smaller, it's going to be harder and harder for the elephants to hang on."

Human development has cut off breeding routes for the wild pachyderms, severely hurting their ability to reproduce, the news source reports, while poaching and habitat loss have wiped out most of the population. Even captive elephants struggle to breed since they spend their days chained up waiting to serve tourists.

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Saturday, January 28, 2017

Dutch vet seeks to save near-extinct elephants in Vietnam

A seasoned veterinarian from the Netherlands has been a lifelong ally of the shrinking herd of elephants in Vietnam’s Central Highlands.

Dr. Willem Schaftenarr, 63, has been a household name among elephant conservationists, mahouts, and the pachyderms themselves in Ban Don (Don Village), which is nestled in the namesake district in Dak Lak Province.

Ban Don is now a popular destination for domestic and foreign tourists because of its elephant population, often used as a means of transport in some tour packages, as well as raced during traditional festivals.

Data shows that the domestic elephant population of Dak Lak experienced a sharp decline from 500 in 1980 to just 43 in March 2016.

Among these, only 16 out of 25 females are under 40 years old, an age when elephants typically stop reproducing.

Dr. Schaftenarr has visited the village three times over the past few years to help local caretakers and doctors treat diseases and injuries on the last tame elephants in an effort to prevent them from dying out altogether.

He has also passed on his knowledge and experience to his Vietnamese colleagues at the Dak Lak Elephant Conservation Center. It is their job to safeguard and repopulate the dwindling domestic herd, overcoming the threat of rampant poaching and poor fertility in the female animals.

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Friday, January 06, 2017

Declining forested land triggers elephant conflict

The continual erosion of forested land by local people has narrowed the living space for elephants in Dong Nai Province, leading to more conflict. In addition, the province’s elephant conservation project has still proceeded at a very slow pace.

Between 2009 and 2011, up to nine elephants died in the southern province of Dong Nai, which were initially suspected of being killed by people.

Recently, the only elephant in Tan Phu protective forest was also killed.

According to the forest management board, for many years, the elephants have destroyed sugarcane and crops grown by people.

Conservationists warned that if more elephants continue to be killed, the species faces extinction in Dong Nai.

Local people often use traditional methods to drive elephants away such as setting fire on cloths soaked with petrol or throwing small gas tank into them to cause explosions. However, these actions have made elephants more aggressive, which results in more conflicts with people.

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Vietnam launches last ditch effort to save its wild elephants

The giant mammals will disappear from the country forever unless poaching is stopped and their habitat is preserved.

International conservationists and Vietnamese forest management officials on Wednesday kicked off an urgent action plan to protect the country’s last wild elephants that involves better monitoring and law enforcement.

Around 60 elephants in Yok Don National Park, some of the last left in the wild in Vietnam, face constant threats from poaching and deforestation. As their habitat has shrunk, they have also come into conflict with farmers in the area.

The plan includes training for forest rangers, camera traps to monitor the population and educating locals about the animal’s movements to prevent clashes, according to a WWF press release.

The rangers will use a SMART (Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool) system, a data collection tool used at many nature reserves across the world, including the provinces of Quang Nam and Thua Thien-Hue in central Vietnam.

To read the full article, click on the story title

EWildlife smugglers using Facebook to sell ivory and rhino horn

An investigation reveals the social media site is acting as a shopfront for a multimillion dollar trade in animal parts, centred in a small village outside Hanoi

Wildlife traffickers from a small, sleepy village in Vietnam are using Facebook to offload large amounts of illegal ivory, rhino horn and tiger parts, an investigation has revealed.

The results of an 18-month sting by the Wildlife Justice Commission (WJC) – shared with the Guardian – were presented at a public hearing in November at the Peace Palace in the Hague. They showed how social media sites such as Facebook are allowing traders greater access to customers.

“It’s wildlife trafficking on an industrial scale,” said Olivia Swaak-Goldman, the executive director of the WJC.

Undercover investigators visited the Vietnamese village of Nhi Khe, known as a wildlife trafficking hub, five times in the past year and scoured Facebook and WeChat, which is popular in China. In all, they tallied illegal wildlife products worth US$53.1 million (366.6 million yuan) stemming from just 51 traders in the village for sale in person and online.

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Elephants destroy crops in Vietnam

In certain parts of Vietnam farmers are having to deal with a peculiar pest, much larger than the usual a farmer has to deal with. According to the Quick-reaction Task Force in the 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. 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.

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.

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Saturday, December 17, 2016

Vietnam Uses Ultrasound To Establish Concentration Of Domestic Elephants

Domesticated elephants in Vietnam’s Central Highlands are receiving ultrasound scans by general experts to check their aptness for mating.

In a feverishness of a afternoon inside Ban Don Village in Dak Lak Province, a organisation of vets from Dak Lak Elephant Conservation Center (DECC) waited alongside Dutch elephant consultant Dr. Willem Schaftenaar for H’Tuk, a womanlike elephant who lives during a internal ecotourism resort.

H’Tuk had been scheduled for an ovarian ultrasound with a vets to establish either she was in good figure for carriage.

The ease and intelligent 36-year-old animal is among several trained elephants in Ban Don who share a common grief of a waste life though a mating deteriorate with their partners underneath a canopy of a woods.

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Electronic fence installed to protect elephants

ĐẮK LẮK – The Natural and Cultural Reserve in the Central Highlands Province of Đắk Lắk has completed building an electronic fence around the reserve campus to protect the habitat of elephants.

Huỳnh Trung Luân, director of the reserve, said an electronic fence was set up within 14 days with the support of technical staff of Việt Nam-based Animals Asia.

The electronic fence, with capacity of between 6.4kw and 8.4kw, will cover an area of some 6,000 sq.m. of the reserve, releasing the elephants from an iron leash and helping them integrate into nature.

The fence has a length of 1,320m, including five iron pillars and had four electronic lines, with 220V power lines and two large capacity batteries backup, which could cause panic for the elephants but not threaten their lives.

Luân said the electronic fence had been used effectively at many animal reserves around the world and would help the animals move freely and comfortably.

Currently, there are two wild elephants in the reserve.

In February 2014, a five-year-old male elephant was found trapped in a forest in the province. Its left foot was seriously injured and ivory was nearly fractured. The animal, named Jun, was treated and raised by the reserve.

This April, a one-year-old elephant was rescued by the reserve’s staff. It was found trapped under a well. The animal was named Gold and has been living in the reserve since then.

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Friday, December 16, 2016

Project to protect Vietnam elephants kicks off

World Wild Fund for Nature (WWF) and Vietnamese nature authorities on Wednesday kicked off an emergency project to protect the biggest herd of elephants in the country from extinction.

The project, which is being undertaken by WWF Vietnam and the Yok Don National Park in Đắk Lắk Province, will focus on the enforcement of environmental law and mitigation of human and elephant conflicts.

The mitigation job is developed on the basic elephants’ custom of seasonal movement and tasks to improve livelihood for local residents in the Central Highlands.

Under the project, training courses for forest rangers on the topic of law enforcement as well as skill for investigating habitat sites will be open for the ranger divisions in the region. WWF Vietnam will support the task of photo traps to monitor the elephants.

To read the full article, click on the story title

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Vietnam Seizes Large Shipment of Illegal Ivory

Vietnamese authorities have seized 619 kilograms (1,362 pounds) of ivory illegally shipped from Africa after finding 4 tons at the same port over the past two months, state media and an official said Friday.

The ivory seized Thursday had been hidden in two containers arriving at Cat Lai port in southern commercial hub of Ho Chi Minh City, the city's Customs newspaper said.

Le Dinh Loi, the city's deputy customs chief confirmed the report, but did not give more details Friday.

To read the full article, click on the story title

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Vietnam destroys huge ivory, rhino horn cache

HANOI: Vietnam destroyed a huge stockpile of ivory and rhino horn Saturday, urging the public to stop consuming illegal wildlife products driving several species towards extinction.

The ivory and rhino horn trade is officially banned in Vietnam, but its use in traditional medicine and for decoration remains widespread, especially among the communist country’s growing elite.

It is also a popular transit point for African ivory and rhino horn destined for neighbouring China, the main market for products fuelling the illicit and lucrative trade.

More than two tonnes of ivory and 70 kilogrammes (154 pounds) of rhino horn were crushed and burned on the outskirts of Hanoi as armed guards protected the more than 30 crates of horns, tusks and bones being destroyed.

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Sunday, November 13, 2016

Vietnam destroys 2 200kg seized ivory, rhino horns

Hanoi - Vietnamese authorities destroyed more than 2 200kg of seized elephant ivory and rhino horns on Saturday, sending a message ahead of a key international conference the country is hosting next week that they want illegal wildlife trafficking stopped.

The seized horns - estimated to be worth more than $7m on the black market - came from some 330 African elephants and 23 rhino that were slaughtered by poachers to meet the demand for ivory, used to make jewellery and home decorations, and rhino horns, in the misguided belief they can cure cancer.

The horns were crushed and then burned on the outskirts of Hanoi, with Vietnam joining 20 other nations in destroying seized wildlife products.

An international conference on the illegal wildlife trade will be held next week in Hanoi, Vietnam's capital. It will be attended by officials and experts including Britain's Prince William, a vocal critic of the illegal wildlife trade.

Vietnam is one of the world's major transit points and consumers of trafficked ivory and rhino horns.

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Electronic fence installed to protect elephants

Jun, a five-year-old male elephant, was kept by an iron leash before the electronic fence was built in Đắk Lắk Province’s Natural and Cultural Reserve. – Photo
Viet Nam News
ĐẮK LẮK – The Natural and Cultural Reserve in the Central Highlands Province of Đắk Lắk has completed building an electronic fence around the reserve campus to protect the habitat of elephants.

Huỳnh Trung Luân, director of the reserve, said an electronic fence was set up within 14 days with the support of technical staff of Việt Nam-based Animals Asia.

The electronic fence, with capacity of between 6.4kw and 8.4kw, will cover an area of some 6,000 sq.m. of the reserve, releasing the elephants from an iron leash and helping them integrate into nature.

The fence has a length of 1,320m, including five iron pillars and had four electronic lines, with 220V power lines and two large capacity batteries backup, which could cause panic for the elephants but not threaten their lives.

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Wild elephants destroy crops in Đắk Lắk

HCM CITY – A herd of about 20 wild elephants looking for food have raided fields in Drang Phốk Village in the Tây Nguyên (Central Highlands) province of Đắk Lắk.

The herd destroyed more than three hectares of cassava, corn and sugarcane in Drang Phốk Village in Buôn Đôn District’s Krông Na Commune.

Đỗ Viết Thụ, deputy director of Đắk Lắk Elephant Conservation Centre, said on Wednesday that he had told nine groups of local security guards to protect the village after the herd began to destroy crops on November 7-8.

“The herd of wild elephants appeared in the area between Yok Đôn National Park and fields of local residents. It’s the rainy season so the wild elephants often are in groups. To protect them, we use typical methods to chase them away by beating gongs and burning fires,” Thụ said.

This is the third time this year that wild elephants have foraged for food and destroyed crops of residents at Drang Phốk Village. On August 18, a herd of 15 elephants damaged more than 10 hectares of crops.

The centre is checking the damage caused by the wild elephants, and will propose measures to help local residents.-VNS

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Friday, November 11, 2016

Elephants destroy crops in Dak Lak

On November 9, Do Duong Thu, deputy director of Dak Lak Elephant Conservation Centre said the authorities and locals successfully chased away the elephants. However, the authorities are still on guard as the elephants are still living near the Yok Don National Park and the fields of local people.

From November 8, a herd of 15 elephants suddenly went into the fields in Drang Phok Village to find food and damaged crops, most of them are sugarcane, corn and cassava.

Dak Lak Elephant Conservation Centre had worked with local authorities to chase the elephants back to the forest.
On August 17 and 18, a herd of 20 elephants also went out of the forest to find food and damaged large areas of crops in Drang Phok Village.

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Thursday, November 10, 2016

Prince William to Visit Vietnam on Behalf of Elephants and Rhinos This Month

Prince William is headed into the Asia Pacific on a solo mission… to defend two animals facing extinction due almost entirely to consumers there. Kensington Palace has announced the Prince will visit Vietnam, the capital of rhino horn use and a major destination for elephant ivory, November 17 and 18, where he will attend the Hanoi Conference on Illegal Wildlife Trade. The Duke of Cambridge plans to urge people in Vietnam to stop buying rhino horn and elephant ivory. Vietnam is not only the center of the rhino poaching crisis, but Vietnamese officials are conducting virtually no enforcement of extraordinarily lax wildlife laws.

In September, the Prince spoke about his mission at the Tusk’s Time for Change event in London, where he said “We have the chance to say that ivory is a symbol of destruction, not of luxury, and not something that anyone needs to buy or sell. We have the chance to say that rhino horn does not cure anything, and does not need a legal market. Now is the chance to send an unambiguous message to the world that it is no longer acceptable to buy and sell ivory, rhino horn or other illegal wildlife products. Indeed, I would challenge anyone who knows the truth of how these wildlife products are obtained, to justify desiring them.”

To read the full article, click on the story title

Over 900 pounds of ivory seized in Vietnam

Vietnamese authorities have seized 446 kilograms (981 pounds) of ivory shipped from Nigeria after finding 3.5 tons at the same port last month.

Customs official Le Dinh Loi says the ivory seized Tuesday had been hidden in timber in a container at Cat Lai port in the southern commercial hub of Ho Chi Minh City.

Authorities seized 3.5 tons of ivory in three shipments smuggled from Africa at the same port last month.

State media say 1 ton of ivory costs $1.8 million on the black market.

Elephant ivory is used as jewelry and home decorations in Vietnam, which bans hunting of its own dwindling population of elephants.

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Electric fence protects elephants

An electric fence has been put up at Dak Lak Elephant Conservation Centre to protect two wild elephants

On November 5, Huynh Trung Luan, head of Dak Lak Elephant Conservation Centre, said that the fence had been installed in 14 days with help from employees of the Animals Asia.

The fence uses 6.4 to 8.4 Kw. With the fence, the elephants won’t be chained anymore and their activities can be expanded to outside of the regular captive zone.

To read the full article, click on the story title

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Illegal Trafficking: 500 kilograms of elephant tusks seized in Vietnam

500 kilograms of elephant tusks were learned Tuesday in Vietnam. The arrest was announced by the Ho Chi Minh authorities, who found a half ton of prey hidden elephant in two containers, coming from Africa.

Hidden between wood and sawdust, the elephant tusks were found in the port of Cat Lai, after a local company has treated its coming import from Africa.

This is not an isolated situation with the Vietnamese authorities to register three similar cases only in the last month. Last month the elephant tusks smuggled seizures amounting to 3.5 tonnes.

Used in traditional medicine or as a luxury object, elephant tusks remain the prime target for poachers in Africa. The data indicate that the poaching of elephants has been declining since 2011, but still, about 30,000 pachyderms continue to be killed every year.

The latest figures indicate that Africa currently has about 450,000 elephants living in their own land.

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Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Vietnam a port for smuggled elephant tusks

Following multiple cases of elephant tusks being smuggled through Vietnam, authorities have confirmed the country as an intermediate port in the illegal shipment of the wildlife parts.

According to the Vietnam Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), during the 2010-15 period, customs officers uncovered a total of 116 cases of animal smuggling and trading, confiscating over 22 tonnes of ivory and 457 ivory bracelets.

Authorities have also seized a considerable volume of elephant tusks this year.

To read the full article, click on the story title

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Criminal proceedings launched on elephant tusk smuggling case

Ho Chi Minh City (VNA) – The Ho Chi Minh City Customs Department on October 18 launched criminal proceedings against the recent elephant tusk smuggling case discovered in Cat Lai port.

On October 6, the customs office at Sai Gon port coordinated with the municipal customs force and anti-smuggling police inspected two containers of timber imported from Mozambique, which are sent to Dieu Tien trade and service company based in Tan Binh district.

More than two tonnes of elephant tusks were found hidden inside.

The department said the case’s file will be transferred to the police for further investigation.

Vietnam has banned the trading of elephant tusks since 1992.-VNA

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Saturday, October 08, 2016

Two tonnes of suspected elephant tusks found at Sai Gon port

Ho Chi Minh City (VNA) – Two tonnes of goods suspected to be elephant tusks were discovered recently at Sai Gon Port by the Customs Office at the port and t he Police Department for Smuggling Prevention C74 under the Ministry of Public Security.

According to the port’s Customs Office, checks on a batch of wood imported from Mozambique revealed 12 hollow logs containing 569 chunks suspected to be elephant tusks, weighing a total 2,052kg.

All the suspicious goods were sent to the Institute of Ecology and Biological Resources under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development for identification.-VNA

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Thursday, January 10, 2013

Dak Lak to give a bonus to breeders if their elephants have babies

VietNamNet Bridge - Dak Lak Provincial People's Council recently passed a resolution on elephant conservation, with huge investment for caring and developing the herd of tame elephants. 

The "bounty" for the elephant owner is over VND400 million ($20,000) and VND170 million ($8,000) for the mahout if their elephant has a baby. However, it is very difficult for tame elephants to have babies.

People have still advocated for reproduction of elephants and they thought it’s simple to just gathering elephants together to have baby elephants. They do not know how difficult this thing is.

To read the full article, click on the story title

Elephants need forests to reproduce, not money

VietNamNet Bridge – “Instead of giving us money, please give us forests. We will help elephants reproduce,” said an elephant breeder in Dak Lak.

The elephant breeders in Dak Lak would receive 414 million dong in financial support from the state for every elephant who gives birth. However, they wish they can receive forests rather than money, because the forests, not money, would help elephants live their normal lives and reproduce.

To read the full article, click on the story title

Baby elephant found dead in Yok Don National Park

VietNamNet Bridge – On the morning of December 14, rangers of the Yok Don National Park, in Ea Sup district, Dak Lak province, cooperated with the local authorities to examine the scene where a baby elephant was dead.

Mr. Hoang Van Xuan, deputy director of Yok Don National Park, said the dead elephant was detected by rangers at about 5pm on December 13. This male elephant is about 1-2 months old and was decomposing.

The elephant is about 1.2 m long, 90 cm high and weighs approximately 100 kg.

According to authorities, it is possible that the baby elephant was trampled by his mother while drinking water.

At the scene, the elephant head and trunk were pressed to the ground.

Since early 2009, Dak Lak has had 14 wild elephants die, including up to 6 in 2012, by different reasons.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Woman caught with ivory at Vietnam airport

Last Updated: Wednesday, September 19, 2012 09:00:00

A woman was caught at Hanoi airport with 19 kilograms of ivory and ivory products Monday, Lao Dong newspaper reported.
A team of officials from the Hanoi Market Management Department on duty outside Noi Bai International Airport felt suspicious and asked to checkNghiem Thi Hoa's suitcase.

They found 677 pieces of ivory weighing 19 kilograms besides 15 bracelets, 90 pairs of chopsticks, and 10 chains made of ivory.

Hoa, 57, of the northern Ninh Binh Province, confessed to bringing the ivory from Angola to sell here.

Customs officials had failed to find the ivory and she had almost got into a car when the market officials confronted her.

They seized the goods and got Hoa to sign off on a list of violations.

Vietnam banned the ivory trade in 1992.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Fossil elephant tooth in Lam Dong

VietmamNet Bridge - A man in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong owns a huge fossil tooth. Archaeologists said the thing is a fossil tooth of an Asian elephant.

A man, who lives in Bui Thi Xuan Street, Da Lat city, accidentally saw a giant tooth-shaped object in the home of his acquaintance. He bought the object and brought it to many experts of antiques to ask them what it was. They told him that this is a fossil elephant tooth, which was formed through the process of millions of years in the ground.

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Wild elephant deaths investigation ordered

The Yok Don National Park has asked local authorised agencies to conduct an investigation into why two wild elephants died last Saturday in Central Highlands Dak Lak Province's Ea Sup District.

The elephants - one female and one male with his tusks removed and his trunks cut out - are believed to belong to a herd of 29 wild elephants living in the national park.

Senior Lieutenant Colonel Tran Manh Hieu, deputy head of the district's Police Department, said that the elephants were likely killed.

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Friday, May 08, 2009

Rogue elephants terrorise Dong Nai


April 25, 2009

DONG NAI — A herd of wild elephants recently gone astray is becoming increasingly bolder, encroaching on inhabited land in southern Dong Nai Province’s Vinh Cuu District, according to officials.

The 13 elephants, which are being kept unfenced in Cat Tien National Park in Central Highland province of Lam Dong, left the park in search of food, Tran Van Mui, the park director, has said.

According to local residents, the elephants have grown increasingly bolder, from foraging for crops in 2007, when they first appeared, to trespassing on villages and destroying houses last year.

This year, the herd appeared every day during the fist 10 days of March, both night and day, trampling fields and damaging houses after devouring fields of plants.

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Dong Nai to protect and preserve wild elephants

Voice of the Armed Forces and People
April 6, 2009

The Dong Nai Provincial People’s Committee has just approved a detailed project to protect and preserve wild elephants in the locality, according to the Provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Groups of elephants have long been observed living in Phu Ly forest in the district of Vinh Cuu.
The project, which will be implemented through 2010, aims to conserve and increase the population of elephants in the forest. At the same time, it will attempt to create a natural living environment for the elephants as well as minimizing possible conflicts between people and the animals.
Phu Ly commune in Dong Nai is one of 10 habitats for wild elephants in Vietnam.
Recently, some elephants emerged from the forests and entered villages damaging crops, property, and endangering lives.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Wild elephants threaten Dak Lak villagers

February 22, 2009

VietNamNet Bridge - Around 54 wild elephants have recently been spotted roaming Ia R’ve border commune in Ea Sup district, in the central highlands province of Dak Lak, looking for food and causing local residents to worry about the risk of possible attacks.

Residents of Ia R’ve have reported sightings of two herds of 18 elephants approaching villages to search for fruit and other food in July and August, 2008.

Several months later, those elephants joined by another herd, consisting of 36 elephants, which came within 50-100 m of the commune, causing the villagers to run away to a safer place.

In the past, wild elephants used to visit this commune, looking for food but they always left quickly after local residents made noises or lit fires.

For the full article click on the story title

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Police complete probe into wild elephant smugglers

Vietnam News
December 29, 2008

HCM CITY — The HCM City Environmental Police Department said last week that it had completed its investigation into the illegal trading, transporting and maintenance of two wild elephants in Cu Chi District.

Lieutenant Colonel Lam Hieu Nghia of the department said the two elephants were being kept by the Dang Vinh Construction, Trading and Services Ltd Co, in Phuoc Vinh An Commune, Cu Chi District.

Investigations showed that the two elephants were captured by H’Mong ethnic people in the forests of southern Binh Phuoc Province in 1971-1972.

The elephants were then kept by Dieu Cuoc, a resident of Binh Phuoc’s Bu Dang District. In 2004, Dang Vinh Co bought the pachyderms for VND160 million ($9,411) and used a truck to illegally transport the animals at night to Cu Chi.

A contract had been signed to effect the illegal transaction, the police said, adding that due action would be taken against the culprits.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Rings made of elephant hair flood central highland souvenir shops

Thu Huong, Vietnam News Agency
August 31, 2008

To ethnic minority groups living in the central highland province of Dac Lac, a ring made of hair taken from an elephant’s tail is far more than an ordinary ornament. Because most people consider it to be an amulet that is expected to bring them luck in love, local couples often use elephant hair as a pawn in the game of love.

Although no one has ever been able to prove the reliability of such a rumor, rings plaited with elephant hairs are now appearing in many souvenir shops. But the consequences of such beliefs in the significance of the elephant rings are leaving a tale of cruelty – thieves are often the ones who cut off the tails of the massive beasts.

For the full article click on the story title

Central farmers lose crops to elephants

Thanh Nien News
August 4, 2008
Seven members of Y Ngo’s family in the central province of Dak Lak depend on one hectare of farmland.
But their farm is all but destroyed, damaged by severe drought and wild elephants.
“The area they trample destroys 10 times more than what they eat and there is no way rice can survive being stepped on by elephants,” said Ngo, a farmer in Ba Na Village of Ia J’loi Commune in the province’s Ea Sup District.
For the past two weeks the 82 households of seven ethnic minority groups in Ba Na Village have been disturbed, usually at night, by wild elephants from a nearby forest that come and trample their farmland.
The farmers can only make noise – from a safe distance – to try to shoo the elephants away.
But this tactic stopped working after only a few days.

For the full article click on the story title

Friday, August 01, 2008

Wild elephants destroy crops

Viet Nam News
July 20, 2008

A herd of 40 elephants over the past few days destroyed over 30 hectares of crops in Ea R’loi and Ea Lop Village in the Central Highlands province of Dac Lac.

According to Ea R’Loi’s People’s Committee, the animals have been showing up in the area since 2005. They usually roam around, destroying crops in the process, for a few days before leaving.

No casualities were reported.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Wild elephants run amok in central highlands

Thanh Nien News
June 27, 2008
A herd of about 10 rampaging wild elephants have destroyed a newly-planted rubber tree plantation and threatened the lives of local people in Central Highland’s Gia Lai Province.

The elephants devastated crops near the forest edge at Chu Se District in Gia Lai Province and Ea Hleo District in Dak Lak Province over the past three days.

“We were on our way from the rubber plantation to the camp when a group of about ten elephants approached,” a worker from Phuc Cuong Company’s rubber forest in Chu Se District said.

“The elephants were very fierce and destroyed all the trees in their way.

We had to run for our lives after one of them saw us and roared,” he said.

Reports said the elephants had also terrorized others who went into the forest

To read the full article click on the story title

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Elephant gang terrorises Ha Tinh Province

Viet Nam News
January 11, 2007

HA TINH — Three wild elephants that escaped from Vu Quang national park have been causing concern among hundreds of households in the two communes of Huong Dien and Huong Quang in the central province of Ha Tinh.

The elephants have crushed motorbikes in their path and stormed into residential houses, according to local authorities.

Villager Nguyen Thi Phuong from Kieu hamlet of Huong Dien Commune said two elephants rushed towards her in the evening.

"My husband was out and I just managed to take the children and run away in time," said Phuong.

"They ruined the vegetables and other plants in the garden.

"Nothing could prevent these animals from doing that."

For the full story click on the blog title

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Vietnam officials seek permission to shoot killer elephant


24 October 2007

Hanoi - Authorities in a northern Vietnamese province are seeking government permission to shoot a domesticated elephant that has killed two handlers this year, an official said Wednesday. The Forestry Department of Thanh Hoa province sent a request to the Ministry of Agriculture last week asking for the go-ahead to kill the rare Asian elephant, which is more than 30 years old, according to Le Quoc Viet with the department.

"The elephant is very angry now and it may kill anyone getting close to it," Viet said.

"But killing it is not a simple thing because it is a rare kind of animal," he said. "There must be approval from relevant authorities.

The 1.3-ton elephant killed two workers at Song Lo Forestry Farm in May this year and has been menacing ever since. The aging animal has been moody since the farm's only other elephant died two years ago.

Forestry farms in Vietnam often use domesticated elephants to pull timber. Some tourism companies in the Central Highlands also use elephants to carry tourists.

So far this year, working elephants have killed at least six people in Vietnam, including four handlers, one elephant owner and a tourist guide.

To read the full story click on the blog title

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Preservation zones on Sao La deer and elephants

Nhan Dan

October 22, 2007

Nhan Dan- Quang Nam Central Province’s People’s Committee has asked the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to approve a plan on the establishment of two new elephant and Sao La deer (Pseudoryx nghetinhensis) preservation zones.

Accordingly, the elephant preservation zone is to be located in a lowland area with an area of 18,765 hectares in Que Phuoc and Que Lam communes of Que Son district. This zone contains wild elephants, five special kinds of birds (only existing in this zone) and turtles.

Quang Nam province has suggested an area of 11,732 hectares for the Sao La deer preservation zone in Bha Lee, Avuong and Ta Lu Song Kon communes.

Authorities of Thue Thien-Hue and Quang Nam provinces in central Vietnam have signed an agreement to preserve Sao La deer through the establishment of two preservation zones in the two provinces.

The two preservation zones have an area of each. The two zones are connected to Bach Ma National Park by a buffer zone of Thus, a preservation area of 2, in total has been formed to preserve not only Sao La deer, but also many endemic species of Vietnam.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Rogue elephants wreak havoc in central Vietnam village

Thanh Nien
September 11, 2007

A herd of over 20 elephants has been destroying large tracts of paddy and corn fields in Daklak province in Vietnam’s central highlands with authorities unable to find a way to chase the animals away.

Since last week more than 20 hectares belonging to some 25 families had been destroyed, officials in La Lop commune said.

Several structures put up as guardhouses too have been destroyed.

Vi Van Binh, one of the officials, said the herd was different from the ones that had wreaked havoc in previous years.

Loudspeakers and drums, usually effective in scaring away elephants, were of no use this time, he said.

There are still some 250 hectares of crops left. meaning the animals are not done with their destruction.

The case has been reported to higher authorities but no solution seems to be in sight yet.

Elephants are protected under Vietnamese wildlife laws.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Central province moves to protect wild elephants

Nhan Dan

September 7, 2007

The central province of Nghe An has taken measures to protect wild elephants and ensure safety for local people and their properties that are threatened by the big animals.

According to local rangers, two herds of wild elephants with around nine heads in the province in recent years have attacked residential areas and destroyed crops in Anh Son, Thanh Chuong, Con Cuong, Tuong Duong and Que Phong districts.

The provincial rangers are entrusted to coordinate with management boards of the Pu Mat National Park and the Pu Huong Nature Reserve to work out schemes to preserve the elephant herds, relocate households from dangerous areas, and raise public awareness of the need to protect the elephants.

The rangers have also guided local people in using such traditional methods as fire lighting and drumming to drive away the animals when being attacked.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Vietnam Nabs Ivory Smugglers With 26 Elephant Tusks
December 21, 2006
Police in northern Vietnam arrested three people after seizing more than 100 kilograms of elephant tusks destined for the ivory trade, an official said Thursday.
Traffic police in Quang Ninh province stopped a taxi en route to Mong Cai Town near the border with China last Saturday and found 26 elephant tusks weighing 117.5 kilograms.
"They were transporting the tusks to the border to send them to China," said Tran Ngoc Duong, a policeman of Quang Ninh province, 150 kilometers east of Hanoi.
Hoang The Vinh, 34, the owner of the tusks, confessed to the police that he had bought the tusks in Nghe An province in central Vietnam for 4.5 million dong (280 dollars) per kilogram, police said.
The arrested, including Vinh, Chu Hong Sang, 39, and Ngo Thi Nga, will be charged with smuggling and violating regulations on protecting wild animals.

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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Wild elephants cause havoc in central Vietnam

Thanh Nien
December 18, 2006
Four wild elephants have been on a rampage in Vietnam’s central Nghe An province for the last 10 days, seriously injuring a man and destroying dozens of hectares of crops.
Over 100 households in Bai Lim village in Anh Son district are threatened by the giant animals that seem to be slowly losing their fear of man.
In the past people in the area used to light fires and make loud noises to scare them away, a farmer reported. But the same tactics were only provoking attacks on people now, he said.

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Thursday, December 14, 2006

Elephants destroy crops in Nghe An

Vietnam News Agency
December 13, 2006
A herd of four elephants last week destroyed more than 2ha of crops in Thanh Thuy Village, Thanh Chuong District, in the central province of Nghe An. The elephants did not attack anyone, but roamed the area, uprooting cassava and corn plants and then piling them up into several heaps.
Local residents believed the elephants belonged to one family. The elephants also entered the area late last year.

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Thursday, November 23, 2006

Rogue elephants wreak havoc in central Vietnam, again

Thanh Nien News
November 22, 2006

Four elephants Wednesday morning destroyed over 15 ha of rice and crops in central Vietnam’s Quang Nam province, local authorities said.

The Tra Doc commune government said three adults and one baby elephant also destroyed dozens of sentry boxes guarding the fields in the commune.

Early this month, the elephants demolished one house, but its seven occupants luckily escaped unharmed.

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Saturday, October 21, 2006

Elephants trample village crops

Elephants trample village crops

VietNamNet Bridge – Four wild elephants are damaging crops and causing concern among residents in the central province of Quang Nam's Tra Doc Commune, with some villagers criticising local authorities for not responding to the problem soon enough.

Local residents are now using traditional methods such as lighting fires and banging gongs to drive away the elephants, but they are prohibited to kill or hunt the animals.
Village 5, located about four hours walk from Tra Doc Commune's centre, has 44 households.

The community of 260 Ca Dong ethnic minority people said they are worried about the elephants, who have repeatedly damaged rice and subsidiary crops, especially during the night.
One local farmer whose crops have been damaged, Ho Van Truong, said his family members' long and hard work on their farm had been completely ruined one night due to the elephants.
Truong said the elephants had trampled about one ha of rice and many areas of subsidiary crops in the village, and also damaged watch towers.

"Local residents don't dare to go to the field to harvest subsidiary crop," said Truong.
Chairman of the commune's People's Committee, Ho Cao Quy, said local authorities had reported the damage to the Forest Management Department and People's Committee in Bac Tra My District and asked them for relevant measures to solve the problem, but they apparently need support from higher levels.

Quy said communal authorities had investigated the damaged areas and encouraged people to not sleep in watch towers at night.

(Source: Viet Nam News)

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Wild elephants terrorize Vietnam farmers

Wild elephants terrorize Vietnam farmers
Thanh Nien News
October 12, 2006

A group of four wild elephants on Tuesday ravaged a mountainous village of farmers in Vietnam’s central province Quang Nam, reported local authorities. Luckily, no one has been injured or killed, but the elephants – including three mature and a young one – devastated over ten hectares of crops in the 5th village of Tra Doc commune in Bac Tra My district.

The group appeared in the evening, apparently scavenging for food and vegetables, chasing locals around in the process. Wild elephants have appeared in the area in the past, destroying hundreds of hectares of crops and threatening locals.

Police, military servicemen and locals are now taking turns on guard, beating drums and setting fires to intimidate and drive the menacing animals away. But the elephants seem to be growing immune to the threats, even getting more angry and aggressive.

A source from Tuoi Tre said illegal hunters had gathered in the area to kill the elephants for tusks, a practice banned in Vietnam, that could result in imprisonment. Years ago, wild elephants appeared at Tanh Linh forest in Binh Thuan province, 300km from Ho Chi Minh City, killing 10 locals.

Local authorities have endeavored to invite foreign experts to the area to trap and move them to protected forests, but as yet nothing is in place to solve the problem.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Wild animal smugglers stopped in their tracks

Wild animal smugglers stopped in their tracks
Thanh Nien

A check stop in northern Vietnam uncovered a large cache of wild animal parts in a truck including 11 elephant tusks, while hundreds of kilograms of animals were seized in the south yesterday.

Traffic police in the northern province Thanh Hoa Saturday morning searched the truck carrying the elephant tusks, and found 22 tiger teeth, 6 bear galls and 4 tiger skulls.
The smuggler fled the scene, but the contraband was retrieved and brought to the provincial investigation agency.

On the same day, HCMC police seized a 108kg haul of iguanas, snakes, turtles, weasels, mouse deer, pangolin, monkeys, and wild boars in the city’s Thu Duc district.

According to the initial investigation, Nguyen Tri Dung and Dao Van Lang, aged 26 and 19, respectively, confessed that a large part of the wild goods belonged to Nguyen Minh Tiem in neighboring Binh Phuoc province.

HCMC authorities last month also swooped down on a slaughterhouse in Thu Duc District and seized hundreds of kilograms of wild animals allegedly destined for city-based restaurants.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Government Plan Aims to Save Vietnam's Declining Elephants

Government plan aims to save Vietnam's declining elephants
VietNamNet Bridge September 13, 2006

The number of elephants in Vietnam has plummeted from 2,000 to 130 over the past 30 years. To counteract this alarming trend, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development launched a national action plan for elephant conservation last week in Hanoi.

The Vietnam National Elephant Action plan, developed by the Ministry's Forest Protection Department (FPD), aims to conserve and develop wild and domestic elephant populations in the country in a sustainable way. The plan, which will extent through 2010, also includes provisions for the conservation of elephant habitats.

According to Tran The Lien, a representative from the FPD, a statistically documented drastic drop in the number of elephants in Vietnam prompts action. Areas that once were home to large herds currently have few if any elephants. "In Vietnam, wild elephants are confronting a high possibility of extinction if there are no effective conservation solutions," Lien said.

Lien attributes the decrease in the number of wild elephants to illegal hunting for ivory and trapping for domestication, the destruction of elephant of habitats and increasing contact between humans and elephants. The new plan will include methods to minimise human-elephant contact using electric fences and trenches to prevent elephants from raiding agricultural areas, in addition to the use of noise and smells that elephants dislike to drive them away from roads and people's property.

In locations inhabited by both people and elephant, farmers will be encouraged to reconsider their crop choices so as not to attract elephants. To handle situations which human-elephant contact does occur, detailed plans will be drawn and implemented. In addition, the new plan will entail the protection of elephant habitats and efforts to ensure adequate production of food for elephants.

Elephant sanctuaries will be built in Dac Lac, Dong Nai and Nghe An provinces, regions that contain large elephant habitat areas and well-populated herds. In areas with smaller elephant populations, habitats will be examined to create optimal conditions for the elephants' long- term survival. When all other options have been exhausted without success, the possibility of relocating elephants will be considered.

Provisions for the domesticated elephant population will also be put into motion, with a new control and management system that includes placing tracking devices on domesticated elephants. With this system, domestic elephant populations will be able to be more easily monitored for their protection and for research their reproduction, facilitating the conservation and development of domestic elephant populations.

A publicity campaign will encourage people to participate in forest protection and remind them that elephant poaching is strictly prohibited in Vietnam. The campaign also aims to increase awareness about elephant conservation and its importance to local communities, especially those in the areas containing elephant herds.

To prevent illegal poaching and the international trade of elephant products, the plan will fine-tune the current law enforcement system to ensure its effectiveness. At the launching ceremony last week, representatives from the provinces of Nghe An, Ha Tinh, Quang Nam, Dac Lac and Dong Nai gave presentations on the implementation of the plan.