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Yok Don National Park Welcomes 2 Elephants Freed From Tourist Rides

Good news for Vietnam’s animal lovers!

As Sai Gon Giai Phong reports, on July 1, Yok Don National Park in Dak Lak Province welcomed two new proboscidean residents: 60-year-old P’Lú and 37-year-old Bun Kon. The two elephants arrived at the national park from the Ban Don Ecological Tourist Resort in the same province, where they worked at an elephant ride tourist attraction.

According to Vu Duc Gioi, deputy director of Yok Don’s Center of Environment Education, the animals experienced poor health and digestive issues before being released into the park. Living in an enclosure and having to frequently serve tourists took a toll on the well-being of the animals, he told the newspaper.

“If they’re free to live in the natural jungle and to eat whatever that want, their condition will improve and they will be healthier and live longer,” Gioi commented. P’Lú and Bun Kon will join the park’s existing four elephants, who were also forced to transport tourist before their liberation.

The two elephant's release was part of an agreement between Animals Asia, a non-profit working to reduce animal cruelty, and Yok Don. The deal was signed in July last year and stipulated that the park would cease all tourism activities directly involving animals in exchange for a US$65,000 grant. The animals are allowed to roam freely in the national park and tourists can watch them from afar.

To liberate P’Lú and Bun Kon, Animals Asia reached a similar deal with Anh Duong Company from the ecological resort to allow the two elephants to settle in Yok Don.

[Photo by Kayleigh Ghiot via SGGP]

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