* Minimum/Maximum number of elephants
TH = Tien Hiep, TN = Tien Ngoc, TL = Tien Lanh, CS = Cao Son, MC = Mau Ca
Recent activity by elephants in 2001 has regrettably caused extensive crop damage in Tien Lanh, Tien Ngoc and Cao Son (Appendix III) communes. A number of houses were also damaged. Total recorded damage for 2001 exceeds VD 1,957 million (US$ 130,000) and is the highest ever.
Despite wishes to the contrary, it is not considered possible to avoid future crop damage under the present scenario. It can, perhaps, be minimised through re-designing crop fields, changing the type of crops grown and physical elephant barrier measures, but not excluded. The intensive land use and the type of crops favoured at the moment mitigate against a real chance of a solution. Either the elephants go, or substantial human relocation must take place. Removing the elephants from the area, as proposed by other authorities, might entail a number of elephant deaths, as has been the case with other recent attempts at Translocation elsewhere. This is not considered to be an option for Quang Nam Province in view of the now tiny extant Vietnamese elephant population. The risk is considered to be too high. Human relocations should be given high priority. The relocation of families from Tien Hiep in 1999 would seem to have been successful in reducing conflict there, but this may just be a temporary phenomenon.
If Vietnam, Quang Nam Province, is serious about maintaining it’s unique wildlife, it must be prepared to adopt adequate measures to accommodate the respective animals, if necessary at the expense of discomforting some of the human population. Elephants play an important role in maintaining general biodiversity and other species are dependent on them for long-term survival. If Quang Nam Province wishes to participate in the expanding global economic market for ecotourism, the elephants are a key attraction which need to be considered in any long-term calculations.