The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) convened a meeting on October 19 to discuss ways to conserve wild elephants in Vietnam and tackle the illegal trade of ivory.
According to CITES, in the last 20 years the number of wild elephants in Asia, including Vietnam, have decreased drastically.
In 1980, Vietnam had around 2,000 elephants which have reduced to only 130 now, including 51 elephants raised in villages in the highland province of Dak Lak.
Authorities in Vietnam have seized many illegal consignments of ivory from abroad. According to Vietnam Customs, since 2004 there have been 26 cases of illegal smuggling of ivory into the country and 23,000 kilograms of ivory, equivalent to 4,660 tusks from 2,330 animals, has been seized.
The Department of Nature Reserve Management and Protection stated that since 2009 about 18 elephants had been shot dead in the country. With these statistics in mind, the Prime Minister recently launched an urgent action plan for conservation of elephants that are on the verge of extinction.
Vietnam also recognizes the need to work closely with all countries affected by the illegal trade of elephant ivory.
Meantime, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development is working on an elephant conservation project in the highland province of Dak Lak, the central province of Nghe An and the southern province of Dong Nai. As per the project, the government will give financial support to people who are raising elephants at home as well as set up a special zone for elephants to breed freely.