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Vietnam is a country, people want to visit for the incredible scenery, temples, culture, beaches, and history. But there are also exotic animals like tigers, monkeys, and of course, elephants. These are only naming a few animals that call Vietnam home. Are there elephants in Vietnam?

Yes, Vietnam does have elephants. The elephant numbers have been dropping every year since records began. They estimate that there are less than 100 elephants living in the wild. They live mainly in the Central Highlands area in Vietnam which contains the provinces of Dak Lak, Dak Nông, Gia Lai, Kon Tum, and Lâm Đồng.

In this post, we will go through where you can find elephants in Vietnam and more. Let’s get started!

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Facts About Asian Elephants

Everyone seems to like elephants, it could be because of their floppy ears, long nose, or their trunks. They are definitely one of the most recognized animals on earth.

elephants in the river

Here are a few facts about Asian Elephants.

  • Asian elephants are a little bit smaller than African elephants.
  • Asian elephants have smaller, round ears whereas African elephants have much larger ears.
  • Can drink up to 225 liters of water per day.
  • Asian elephants with their trunks can tear down trees or pick up a blade of grass.
  • Adults eat around 150kg daily.
  • Elephants have an impressive memory.
  • The average lifespan of an elephant is between 50 to 70 years.
  • Asian elephants communicate with rumbles, bellows, and moans.

How Many Elephants Are Left In Vietnam?

Vietnam in the 1980s had an estimated 1,500 to 2,000 elephants. Today, that number has been estimated to be less than 100 elephants left in the wild.

Most of Vietnam’s estimated 165 domesticated elephants live in Dak Lak province. In Dak Lak there is a tradition of capturing and training the elephants by Vietnam’s ethnic minority people.

Also historically, many elephants caught and domesticated were sold in Cambodia and Laos.

Problems Facing Asian Elephants

Almost everyone loves to interact with Asian elephants but many people don’t know the plight of these elephants, such as.

  • Capture and broken in for tourists.
  • Illegal logging.
  • Loss of habitat.

Capture And Broken In For Tourists

Vietnam has banned the capture of elephants, but it still happens. Elephants that have been captured are either forced to work or broken in to entertain tourists.

Captured Elephant

Young elephants are easier to domesticate and as a result, hold a greater value. They are cases, mother elephants who try to protect themselves are young get killed in the process.

Elephants that are broken in for tourists can experience torture techniques such as been jabbed with metal hooks, deprived of food, and beaten.

Illegal Logging

Thailand has banned logging but Vietnam has not. Today, elephants are captured and put to work logging. This timber work is back-breaking for the elephants, some have died from exhaustion due to excessive overwork.

Loss of Habitat

Vietnam’s human population is growing and at present, it is over 96 million people. In 1980 the population was around 55 million.

This has lead to urban expansion and deforestation. The elephants have had their natural roaming space reduced. And their food supply was reduced. This has also lead to problems with the local farmers.

Why Are Elephants Tusks So Important?

Elephants rely on their tusks to survive. They use them to defend themselves, digging, lifting trees, gathering food, and stripping back bark from trees. They cannot survive without them. Poachers hunt elephants for the ivory in the tusks this is the main reason that elephants are been hunted.

Elephants at Elephant Nature Park

Where Are The Elephants In Vietnam?

They live mainly in the Central Highlands area in Vietnam which contains the provinces of Dak Lak, Dak Nông, Gia Lai, Kon Tum, Lâm Đồng.

Are There Elephant Sanctuaries In Vietnam?

Vietnam does not really have any elephant sanctuaries, well I would not consider them Sanctuaries. There is a growing interest to protect the remaining elephants in Vietnam.

In 2018, Yok Don national park started to promote its ethical elephant tours, the first in Vietnam. There are 2 places in Vietnam where you can see the elephants that are looked after, these are as follows.

  • Yok Don national park in Dak Lak.
  • Dak Lak Elephant Conservation Center.

Where Can You Ride Elephants In Vietnam?

There is controversy around riding an elephant. This is before the cruel methods to break in elephants so that tourists can ride them. These methods include the elephant been jabbed with metal hooks, deprived of food, and beaten.

Yes, you can ride an elephant in Vietnam. But you are encouraging more elephants to be tortured. In Yok Don national park, you can not ride an elephant.

Wrapping Up

Finally, yes elephants can be found in Vietnam but their numbers are in serious decline. Elephants can be found in the Central Highlands area. Mainly in the province of Dak Lak province. You should try and avoid you riding an elephant as this encourages more elephants to be tortured for tourists.

And that’s it for now! I’d love it if this post on are there elephants in Vietnam was helpful to you. Let me know if you have any questions and let me know if there is more to add.

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Elephants in Vietnam
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