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Inside the one of the Center’s traditional rosewood houses stands our permanent exhibition of 27 tri-lingual boards. Visitors have access to our extensive book & film library. Visitors can discover ancient and modern techniques and equipment used by Lao mahout, learn about elephant biology and role in Asian cultures…or observe a full elephant skeleton.

The elephant, one of the defining components of Asian heritage, is today under threat of extinction, as is the traditional knowledge linked to elephant ownership in the region, and in Laos particularly. Once known as “the Land of a Million Elephants”, Laos is currently losing century-old traditions connected to the capture, taming and raising of elephants.

The project intends to create the first “living” elephant museum in Laos to conserve both ancestral knowledge and elephants.

The elephant museum intends to protect the traditional mahout way of life through the conservation and restoration of ancient scripts, mahout equipment, artefacts, traditional herbal medicines and ritual objects. It also intends to transfer this wealth of knowledge to future generations of mahouts through the associated “Mahout Training Center” at the Elephant Conservation Center.

The Elephant Museum also welcomes Lao school children. Schools from Sayaboury are invited to visit the museum free of charge.

The objectives of the Elephant Museum are:

  • To conserve traditional knowledge connected to elephant ownership.
  • To inform visitors about elephant cultural associations in Laos, elephant biology and conservation issues.

Outside the building, we display the equipment traditionally used by Lao mahouts to capture and tame wild elephants. This includes a training cage (“Kuan”), buffalo skin lassos, clay figures of wild spirits, saddles, training hobbles, logging gear, etc.  The surroundings of the elephant museum will eventually consist of botanical gardens where resident mahouts grow plants used in traditional medicine to treat elephants.

The Museum will encourage visitors to admire live elephants kept at the Center whilst learning about their past, present and future conditions.

Truly a “living” museum, the facility intends to give visitors a true insight into the vanishing “elephant culture” of Laos.[/paragraph]

Without immediate action, the “elephant culture” that forms an integral part of the nation’s spirit could be lost forever. In response to these concerns about the future of the Asian elephant, The Elephant Conservation Center intends to safeguard elephants and their habitats and to find appropriate new roles for elephants in Laos. It is important to raise awareness of the need to protect the Asian elephant, as well as the biological heritage of Laos and the countries of the region. The Elephant Conservation Center with its cultural approach to conservation, wishes to play an important role in raising regional and international awareness about the need to protect the Asian elephant.