Back Stories » Vietnam » Yok Don National Park Receives Financial Grant to Stop All Elephant Rides, Activities

A step towards more ethical tourism practices. 

According to Dan Tri, on July 13, Yok Don National Park in Dak Lak Province just received a US$65,000 grant from Animals Asia — a charity that works to combat animal cruelty — for a five-year project that can help the park stop offering elephant riding service and find more animal-friendly alternatives.

Under the condition of the grant, the park will suspend all elephant rides and activities that involve direct contact with elephants and minimize elephant use in festivals. Instead, the park will be working towards building an elephant tourism model where tourists can observe the animals in their natural habitat and learn about them. Elephants are often chained and forced to give rides to tourists, which is an unethical practice that takes a toll on these animals' well-being.  

“In the long term, Animals Asia and the Yok Don National Park will employ the elephant owners and mahouts to the new model of elephant-friendly tourism,” said Animals Asia's Animal Welfare Officer Nguyen Tam Thanh.

The Park's director Pham Tuan Linh believes that if the project works out, it can set an example of ethical models to be applied to other provinces and regions in the country. 

The project runs from July 2018 to April 2023 with the help from Animals Asia's experts and offices. The first grant installment worth US$13,000 will arrive on July 23. 

Dak Lak is currently home to 45 captive elephants, none of which has reproduced in 30 years.

[Photo via Bao Dak Lak]

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