Photos by Luke Duggleby
Activities of the Lao Elephant Care and Management Programme (LECMP), supported by ElefantAsia.
These actions are currently undErtaken by the ElefantAsia team in addition with ongoing veterinary missions to Sayaboury, Vientiane and Champassak provinces.
Study of tuberculosis in semi-captive elephants of Sayaboury Province
Tuberculosis is a disease that causes a wasting syndrome in elephants. As the bacteria (Mycobacterium) spreads in the body, the elephant becomes weak and then dies prematurely. The specificity of this disease is that it can be transmitted between human and elephants. Because tuberculosis is widespread in the human population in Laos, we will start a preliminary study to assess the situation in elephants.
Partner: University of Montreal, Canada
Improving elephant welfare in tourist camps of Lao PDR
The workload in tourist camp is sometimes quite hard for elephants. This is true especially during the tourism peak from November to April, when elephants have to carry many people from early morning to late in the afternoon. We are doing a survey to assess the impact of the saddle on the health condition of the elephant. The objective is to provide trainings to mahouts and camp managers, so they can improve the welfare of their animals.
Partner: Veterinarian Without Border Canada (VWB-VSF)
Genetic survey around Nam Phouy National Protected Area, Sayaboury Province
The elephant population of Lao PDR is facing extinction in the next decades, mainly due to a lack of reproduction. The main location where semi-captive elephants can breed effectively is around the Nam Phouy National Protected Area. There, wild male elephants come to cover females that have been released in the forest by their owner. In order to know how many wild elephants breed and evaluate the risk of inbreeding, we are undergoing a genetic survey based on "microsatellites" analysis.
Partner: Kasetsart University, Thailand
The Champassak elephant breeding project
A decade ago, there were more than a hundred of elephants in Champassak Province in southern Lao PDR. Today, only 30 remain in the province, and most of them are too old to breed. The last elephant born there is now 19 years old. In a final effort to avoid extinction of elephants in this area reproduction amongst the remaining population must be promoted. That is why we are designing a park around the village where female and male elephants will be in free contact. This will allow them to socialise and increase chances of reproduction.
Partner: The government of Champassak Province
Prevention of transmission of Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpes Virus (EEHV)
EEHV is a virus that can kill young elephants, and thus is a threat for the Lao elephant population. Our veterinary team is studying in the field the significance of this virus in the country. This information will help set up preventive measures, especially in elephant camps and during elephant festivals.