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Daklak to phase out elephant riding

The Saigon Times

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HCMC – The Central Highlands province of Daklak has given the green light to a tourism project designed to protect the elephant population, the local media reported.

Under a proposal of the Daklak Department of Planning and Investment, the provincial government approved a non-refundable aid sponsored by the Hong Kong-based Animals Asia Foundation (AAF) to replace elephant riding services with elephant-friendly ones.

Daklak will refrain from organizing activities that affect the wellbeing of elephants in tourism and festivals, such as elephant riding, elephant-related competitions including elephant swimming, tug of war or reenacting scenes of hunting and taming elephants.

Meanwhile, the province will make up for the loss of income of elephant owners and mahouts.

The fund, which totaled over VND55.4 billion, will be given to elephant conservation and care centers. Of the amount, the non-refundable aid accounts for nearly VND50.9 billion.

The project will last for four years, from November this year to December 2026 in Buon Don District, including Yok Don National Park; the Center for Elephant Conservation, Animal Rescue and Forest Protection Management; and tourism companies operating in the district.

According to the Center for Elephant Conservation, the province now has only 140 elephants, dropping 90% over 1980.

In 2018, AAF donated US$65,000 to eliminate elephant-riding services at the Yok Don National Park because such activities adversely affect the animals’ health, thereby reducing their population.

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