The first ethical elephant tourism experience in Vietnam was implemented in Yok Don National Park in cooperation with Animals Asia back in 2018.
Vietnam used to have thousands of elephants before, with quite a big population in Dak Lak.
That is unfortunately no longer the case, and there are only about 100 wild elephants in total left in Vietnam.
Elephants in Vietnam were for a long time used as work animals, but in the recent decades also for tourism.
It’s an “observe, not disturb” model, an excellent example of what others should adopt, not only in Vietnam but all over South East Asia.
Yok Don National Park is the first park in Vietnam to start a new model of ethical elephant tourism without any abuse. - NO RIDING
They buy off the elephants from locals that in the past used them for work, but nowadays primarily for tourism activities like elephant riding, bathing, and photoshoots.
The elephants are usually brought into the park alongside their handlers, so-called mahouts.
We’ve been asked on numerous occasions if they are indeed legitimate, and we can happily confirm that they are.
Yok Don National park is partnered with organizations like Animals Asia, WWF, and Olsen Animal Trust. Thus, there are controls in place at all levels. You can also find Animals Asia employees at the park, who oversee the whole operation.
The most infamous ones are at Buon Don and Lak Lake.
Although Yok Don National park adopted an ethical elephant experience model, there are still places around the park and in the Dak Lak province that enable tourists to ride elephants.
You can help support the transition to elephant-friendly tourism in Vietnam by participating in any tours that the national park offers.