The International Organisation for Nature Conservation in Viet Nam and Dak Lak Province are working on a GPS tracking system to help with elephant conservation in the province.
A male elephant at Buon Don District, Dak Lak Province - Photo: vnexpress.net
Dak Lak Province has around 28 wild elephants and they form groups of four to seven at Yok Don National Park and Phuoc Hoa Rubber Company (bordering Gia Lai Province).
Thai Truyen, consultant for the elephant conservation program of the International Organisation for Conservation of Nature in Viet Nam (which supports the project), said that GPS necklaces for elephants will help the rangers of the Elephant Conservation, Animal Rescue and Forest Protection and Management Centre and Yok Don National Park to identify the elephants' location and navigate their future movement. This will help rangers quickly respond if elephants ever have conflict with humans.
“This is the first time ever that a GPS Tracking Necklaces for Elephants Program will be executed in Viet Nam”, said Truyen.
Dr. Cao Thi Ly of Central Highlands University said official surveys show that the number of elephants in Dak Lak is declining. Therefore, using a GPS tracking necklace is essential for the elephant conservation program.
Other countries, such as India and Sri Lanka, have also used this method to conserve local wild elephants. If the program is officially implemented, Viet Nam conservation staff will learn from these countries and receive help from foreign wildlife conservation specialists, especially for elephant conservation.
This will help the staff perfect technical procedures relating to the elephant tracking database and how to set GPS necklaces on elephants.
Le Quoc Thien, officer of the International Organisation for Conservation of Nature Program in Vietnam, said that using technology to monitor elephants is crucial for setting up an alarm system. Elephants are animals with a large mobility range, so this system will help with understanding the animals' movement.
“For issues that are related to law or border management, the program has also proposed to find Vietnamese suppliers that import devices to help with monitoring them in the program and make sure they adhere to Viet Nam’s law and international commitments”, Thien said.
For the past 30 years, the number of wild elephants in Viet Nam and especially in the Central Highlands has been quickly decreasing due to the loss of their natural habitat and inadequate conservation procedures. Central Highlands elephant conservation experts have been working hard to protect the elephants.