Vietnam province may buy elephants from Thailand to promote tourism
A Dak Lak Province official has suggested buying elephants from Thailand to promote tourism since local elephant numbers are falling rapidly due to infertility and death from overwork. “The elephants in Buon Don District [home to most of Dak Lak's domesticated elephants] are too old and unable to reproduce, threatening an extinction of domesticated elephants,” Y Shi That, a senior official in the Central Highlands province, home to largest number of domesticated elephants in Vietnam, said. Local authorities should buy one or two breeding elephant pairs using the VND85 billion (US$3.8 million) that has been approved for elephant conservation in 2015-20, Tuoi Tre quoted him as saying. “It will maintain the population of domesticated elephants and the identity of Buon Don.” The population of domesticated elephants in Dak Lak has plummeted from 500 in the 1980s to 43 now after many died of overwork from serving tourists and lack of food, which has also made them infertile.