Forest rangers in the southern Vietnamese province of Binh Phuoc have decided to buy a few elephants from local households and use them for tourism and forest protection purposes.
The provincial Bureau of Forest Rangers is poised to purchase four elephants from two households in Bu Dang District for around VND2 billion (US$94,135,) according to Vu Dinh Truc, the bureau’s deputy head.
Each of the elephants weighs between four and five tonnes.
The People’s Committee of Bu Dang District has also recruited four experienced indigenous elephant tamers for a total of VND15 million ($706) a month.
Truc added the four animals and their tamers will be transferred to the Bu Dang Protective Forest Management, where they will receive training to entertain visitors at ecotourism sites and join forest ranging patrols.
According to representatives of the Bu Dang People’s Committee, close examinations will be conducted on the four animals regarding their weight, size, age, health conditions, and fertility.
Construction work has begun on the province’s new ecotourism complexes, including the 5,000-hectare Trang Co Bu Lach Complex and 19,000-hectare Bu Gia Map Complex.
According to the provincial Bureau of Forest Rangers, Binh Phuoc is still home to another four elephants of the Asian breed.
But their owners – coming from the S’tieng ethnic minority in Bu Dang District – have encountered financial difficulty covering the expenses for caring for them in recent years.
The bureau thus signed an agreement to provide VND500,000 ($24) in monthly aid on each elephant for four local households since November 2014 so that they can properly take care of the beast, Truc added.
The aid will be supplied until November 2015, before more assistance is considered.