The authorities in Dak Lak Province have co-operated with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to start a project to protect wild animals in the area from poachers.
An elephant is found dead in Yok Don National Park
This project is a response to the Wildlife Conservation Day on December 4. The Dak Lak Forest Protection Department and WWF also held a conference about protecting wild animals in the Central Highlands on December 2.
Van Ngoc Thinh, director of WWF Vietnam, said over a decade ago, the Central Highlands was highly regarded and among world’s 200 areas with the richest biodiversity. But now visitors can hardly hear any sounds of the birds or frogs.
The Central Highlands used to have thousands of elephants but only 70 are left in the Yok Don National Park. Tigers have disappeared and many other species are near extinction because of poaching. In 2010, the last rhino in Cat Tien National Park was killed.
Many of the animals were hunted down for meat. They were sold for restaurants in the Central Highlands as well as other provinces across Vietnam. Do Quang Tung, head of the Forest Protection Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, suggested making plans to raise awareness among tourists and state officials.
Such restaurants are easily found and have operated openly for years.
According to the WWF Vietnam, at the end of October, they had funded VND860m (USD37,100) and worked with the forest rangers in Dak Lak to start an anti-poaching and trading of wild animals.
The project will train local officials on how to monitor wild animal trading in Vietnam and the world, collect information, detect products made from ivory, and punish violators. The local forest rangers will get support to gather information and deal with restaurants that buy, store and sell animals.
Thinh said, “We hope all commitments will be realised and Buon Ma Thuot will be the first city in Vietnam that doesn’t trade products illegally made from animal parts.”