Yok Don National Park and Animals Asia Foundation have been cooperating with each other for the purpose of taking good care of and conserving captive elephants in accordance with the direction of the Vietnam Administration of Forestry – Minister of Rural Development and Agriculture.


Mr. Pham Tuan Linh – Vice Director of Yok Don National Park gave a speech at the signing ceremony

On 13th July 2018 the signing ceremony on the conversion to an elephant-friendly model between Yok Don National Park and Animals Asia Foundation took place with the attendance of different government agencies such as Dak Lak Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Dak Lak Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Subdivision of Forest Protection, Dak Lak Elephant Conservation Center, Dak Lak Tourism Association and other local agencies of government authority in Buon Don District.


Mr. David Neale – Animal Welfare Director of Animals Asia Foundation made a speech

At the signing ceremony, two parties have been committed to converting from the current tourism model with elephants to the new model in which elephants no longer have to give rides, they can freely roam in the forest, simply be themselves and practice their natural behaviors in order to minimize any tourists’ direct contact with elephants and to share the idea of protecting animals and protecting nature with the community.

In addition to direct investment into the conversion of the tourism model, Animals Asia made a commitment to sending specialists and experts to support Yok Don National Park in building and sustaining the elephant-friendly model effectively.  The promotion of the new tourism model in Yok Don National Park will also be implemented to approach more Vietnamese and foreign visitors.


Delegates from various agencies of government authority raised voice and discussed the model

The new tourism model with elephants will be contribute greatly to better elephants’ welfare and to the benefits of mahouts and the local community. Additionally, it also opens up an opportunity to provide the community with an education about animal protection, wildlife conservation and nature conservation and promote this model to domestic and international tourism market.

In Vietnam, Yok Don National Park is the early pioneer in converting from the elephant-riding tourism model to the new model of watching and discovering free-of-chain elephants in their natural habitat in the park.


Representatives of Yok Don National Park and Animals Asia Foundation signed the memorandum of understanding

This new tourism model conveys important messages of conservation and eco-tourism. It can be scaled up to other areas in Dak Lak province in the future.


Story and photos: Tran Duc Phuong – Vice Director of Environmental Education and Service Center – Yok Don National Park