Animals Asia Elephant Program

16 November 2021

Animals Asia has been working to improve the lives of elephants in Vietnam for almost a decade. Here’s a look back at some of the most significant milestones on this epic journey so far.

2021

Sep

Kham Phanh is rescued and brought to the Elephant Conservation Centre (ECC). She meets H’Plo and the two strike up a friendship.

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Aug

Animals Asia is ready to rescue Kham Phanh who was born into captivity in 1979 and has worked in agriculture ever since, but we are held up by Covid-19 travel restrictions.

Jul

A Memorandum of Understanding to end elephant riding between Animals Asia and the government is completed at ministry level. Covid-19 holds up the process for further sign off in government.

Jun

Animals Asia surveys mahouts in Dak Lak province - 98% support an end elephant riding.

Animals Asia signs contract for a mahout to care for elephant Kham Vath. On-going negotiations begin to move Kham Vath into Animals Asia’s care permanently.

Apr

Elderly elephant H’Non passes away at Yok Don National Park (YDNP) surrounded by those who loved and cared for her.

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2020

Dec

Riding elephant H’Plo is retired to YDNP and is free to roam for the rest of her life.

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Nov

Provincial People’s Committee approves legal decision to ‘develop alternatives for elephant-related festivals and events of culture, sport and tourism.’

Aug

Dak Lak government temporarily bans elephant riding in its Buon Don district after a tourist is seriously injured during an elephant ride.

Jun

Animals Asia carries out a survey and finds 82% of elephant owners support the end of using elephants in races, 62% support end of using elephants in football games and 53% support an end to using elephants in the local festival.

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May

Animals Asia conducts a workshop with local government and elephant owners to discuss alternatives to use of elephants at the Buon Don festival. They agree to reduce elephant activities at the festival.

2019

Dec

222 tourists visit the ethical elephant experience in 2019.

Jun

Vietnam government presents Animals Asia with an award in recognition of our long-term program to conserve wild elephants and improve the welfare of captive elephants.

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May

Animals Asia invited to Dak Lak government’s newly established committee to discuss changes to the use of elephants in entertainment.

2018

Oct

Ethical elephant tours begin at YDNP. 49 tourists visit between October and December.

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Jul

Animals Asia signs five-year agreement with YDNP to stop elephant riding and, with support from the Olsen Animal Trust, launches the first ethical elephant tourist experience in Vietnam. Three elephants are rescued from captivity and brought to YDNP.

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Jun

Animals Asia submits a proposal to YDNP to create an ethical elephant tourism model in the park to ensure the long term care of the rescued elephants.

Jan

Discussions on establishment of an ethical elephant tourist project in YDNP begin.

2017

Nov

Former riding elephant H’Non given freedom to roam at YDNP.

2016

May

Animals Asia signs Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Vietnam government to officially provide advice and support to ECC.

Apr

Animals Asia sends an elephant vet specialist to ECC to operate on Jun to remove the embedded wire and infected bone and tissue from his leg.

Mar

Elephant calf Gold is found stuck in a farmer's well at around three months old. He is rescued and taken to ECC. Three unsuccessful attempts are made to reunite him with the wild elephant herd.

Feb

A local elephant owner gives his Bull elephant, Thong Kham, to ECC.

2015

Nov

Animals Asia helps build the first elephant enclosure at ECC for Jun. We also invite elephant experts to run keeper training sessions to ensure the elephants receive the best possible care.

Jun

Reports of elephants collapsing from exhaustion after being used for tourism and being forced to stand in the sun with no water or shade for long hours.

Feb

Elephant calf Jun walks into a snare and becomes trapped. Local villagers take him to ECC.

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2013

Dec

Animals Asia begins to offer on-going informal support, advice, guidance and practical help to ECC. We all want the centre to be a success so more elephants can be rescued from captivity and the population can be saved.

Vietnam’s wild elephant population is in decline. Their numbers have fallen to below 100, unsustainable for their survival. 72 elephants live in captivity and are forced to give rides to tourists or work in agriculture.

2011

The Vietnam government takes emergency steps to conserve the country’s remaining wild elephant population and sets up ECC to rescue and eventually breed and rewild captive elephants.

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Animals Asia is grateful to everyone  who has helped us achieve such amazing progress for Vietnam’s elephants. We’re especially grateful to the Olsen Animal Trust and our government partners for their continued support for our ethical elephant project at Yok Don National Park.


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