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Wild Elephant From Killer Herd Caught

November 13, 2001

HANOI, Vietnam (AP) _ Experts have captured the first wild elephant from a herd that has trampled to death 12 people in central Vietnam over the past three years, an official said Tuesday.

A team of elephant experts from Malaysia and Vietnam began searching for the herd on Monday. The hunt was organized after a Vietnamese farmer guarding his crops was killed by the elephants last month.

Team members spotted two of the elephants within hours of beginning the search, said Luc Minh Hieu, deputy director of the Forest Protection Department in Binh Thuan Province.

They shot the two elephants with tranquilizers and captured the larger one. The smaller one escaped, he said.

Three tame elephants will escort the captured elephant to a cage built 12 miles away, he said.

Hieu said the government estimates that there are six to eight elephants in the herd. The team expects to capture all of them within a month and transport them to a reserve in the central highland province of Daklak, 500 miles away.

In 1993, Vietnam hired a team of experts from Singapore to relocate a herd of wild elephants from the southern province of Dong Nai to Daklak, but the results were disastrous. One Singapore expert was killed by an elephant and all 12 of the animals later died.

Vietnam has an estimated 70 to 100 wild elephants, down from 1,500 to 2,000 in 1975.

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