he Elephant Conservation Center has a mandate to protect traditional knowledge of elephant ownership and husbandry. Lao mahouts have been using traditional medicine since time immemorial, and the knowledge they possess is slowly disappearing with the eldest. Before modern veterinary medicine was made available to elephants in Laos, mahouts relied solely on what the forest provided. Therefore, they developed a strong botanical knowledge of all plants that can be used to cure an elephant from various common diseases. In particular, old mahouts are able to produce tonics for tired logging elephants, deworming recipes and many other useful products.
The Botanical Garden is a portion of land that we dedicate to the culture of all known plants used by elder mahouts of Laos to produce traditional medicine for elephants. The recipes are collected in several districts of Sayaboury and recorded at the Mahout Vocational Center. Plants are sustainably harvested in the forest and grown at the Botanical Gardens. A guided visit of the Gardens will teach you how to produce the remedies that have been the basis of elephant care in Laos for centuries. Volunteering at the Gardens is a way to contribute to a better future for elephants. Growing and recording the plants whilst producing the remedies is of major importance to future generations of mahouts around the country.
In addition to the culture of traditional medicinal plants, the Botanical Gardens is also a tree nursery. We grow various species of trees that are planted on our land and beyond. We have to replant trees on the portions of our land that suffered slash & burn before it became an elephant sanctuary. Therefore, we are now developing this side activity with the intention of replenishing the center's forest; but we also plan to produce enough trees so that we can replant other areas around the Nam Tien lake.