Published: Tuesday 31 December 1996

The battle to save Vietnam's elephants is on. As per the last census, fewer than 300 wild elephants were left in the country. At the present rate of poaching, environmentalists fear that none will be left in four years. Shaken by these statistics, the government is appointing villagers to guard elephants from poachers.

A team of 37 rangers has been created to preserve wild and domesticated elephants, said Voong Nhi, deputy chief of Buon Don community administration in the Dac Lac province of Vietnam's central highlands. Authorities have recruited minority Rhade tribesfolk as special 'elephant rangers' to save Vietnam's depleting stock of elephants from extinction.

The scheme is being coordinated by a local Organisation and funded by thS@ UK-based Fauna Flora International. The rangers will be trained and equipped to patrol elephant reserves and reduce conflict with people @Iaiming a right over the same natural resources.

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