The population of both wild and captive elephants in Vietnam has experienced a precipitous decline over the past two to three decades and has reached critical levels. There are estimated to be around 100 wild elephants living in five separate groups, while around 80 elephants are held in captivity (for tourism). Despite the small wild elephant population, human-elephant conflict is a serious and ongoing problem in Vietnam.
To try and address these concerns, the formation of an Elephant Conservation Centre was approved in 2011 by the central government. The Dak Lak Elephant Conservation Centre, (ECC), is a government-supported organisation tasked with the challenge of preventing the extinction of the Asian elephant in Vietnam. ECC is comprised of two departments; one that oversees the management of captive elephant populations and the other that protects the wild elephant population.
We’ve co-founded the Vietnam Elephant Initiative (VEI) with Animals Asia Foundation, Elephant Care International and North Carolina Zoo, to provide expert resources and practical advice to support long-term improvements in care and veterinary treatment for captive elephants in Vietnam. The Initiative has been working with the relevant authorities and the ECC in Vietnam since 2013 and aims to:
- Provide expert resources and practical advice to support improvements in animal management care and veterinary treatment for captive elephants in Vietnam.
- Provide advice that supports the development of a sustainable elephant sanctuary, that will provide positive welfare and whole of life care to all its captive elephants.
- Support programmes that introduce sustainable approaches to the protection of wild elephants in Vietnam.