The Elephant Mirror
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Vietnamese conservationists and wildlife officials are working on a project to create unique “elephant ID cards” for the country’s pachyderm population in an effort to ensure their survival, and promote harmony between the animals and local communities, Al Jazeera reported.
The Dong Nai Biosphere Reserve in Vietnam, which includes the Cat Tien National Park, is installing “camera traps” along the elephants’ forest pathways that will take images of the large mammals and monitor their behavior.
These images will be used to create a comprehensive catalog of individual elephants, detailing characteristics such as age, sex, physical traits, and overall condition.
Officials explained that the project is aimed at monitoring and protecting the endangered Asian elephant population. They added that by closely tracking their movements and habits, conservationists can better understand the animals’ needs and behaviors.
While these camera traps are a novel approach in Vietnam, they have been used in other countries, including Thailand, India, and Tanzania, primarily for monitoring wild animals in their natural habitats.
In Vietnam, elephant populations have significantly declined over the years. Conservationists say creating individual identity profiles for endangered animals is important.
The protection of both elephants and the human communities residing near their habitats remains a major issue.
Human-elephant conflicts have been reported in the past, with residents often employing various methods to deter elephants from their farmlands. Conservationists added that a significant part of fostering coexistence involves educating communities about elephant behavior and the importance of conserving these animals.