For too long Asia’s elephants have been seen as a resource for tourism, entertainment, and industry – a new initiative in Vietnam will change that.
The Vietnam Elephant Initiative will make the Elephant Conservation Centre (ECC) a reality in Dak Lak Province.
Animals Asia, working with partners Wild Welfare, Elephant Care International, and North Carolina Zoo, alongside a number of independent experts, aims to completely change the welfare of captive elephants in Vietnam – for the better.
1. End the Practice of Elephant Riding
Elephant riding is a popular tourism activity for tourists visiting the Dak Lak region. Our aim is to end elephant riding in Vietnam’s tourism centres and to provide a cruelty-free alternative for tourists.
2. End the Practice of Elephant Racing
Each year captive elephants within Dak Lak are used as part of the Buon Duon festival, this culminates in an elephant race. We want to end the use of elephants at the festival and to end the race.
3. Support the Transition of the Tourism Industry Towards Elephant Watching Tourism
Working in partnership with the national and local government, elephant owners and tourism companies, we want to develop an alternative tourism activity designed around watching elephants in social groups within an elephant sanctuary. This will help to move the region away from elephant riding tourism towards a welfare-friendly alternative.
4. Improve the Welfare of Captive Elephants
We provide practical veterinary, nutritional and behavioral advice that supports improvements in animal management care and veterinary treatment for captive elephants in Vietnam. This includes support to the ECC to assist in the welfare of two young elephants, Jun and Gold, that have been rescued by the centre.
5. Unchain the Elephants by Supporting the Development of an Elephant Sanctuary
We provide advice supporting the development of an elephant sanctuary providing positive welfare and “whole of life” care to captive elephants rescued from the tourism industry. This will include the establishment of appropriate social groups to allow former tourism elephants to perform their social behaviours and the provision of large natural enclosures which will allow elephants space to roam free – a far cry from their former life of being chained and used for rides.
Lead image source: Animals Asia/Flickr