Laos is an oral culture. Knowledge is mainly passed on from older to younger generations through speech with limited written documents. Laotian elephant handlers use techniques that have been gathered over centuries. Because many traditional mahout families are leaving the trade we risk losing their understanding of husbandry, breeding, training and medicinal plants.
There are numerous problems connected to the ‘generation gap’ currently hitting the Laotian mahout community:
- Inappropriate response to untrained calves.
- A lack of experience in dealing with elephants in musth.
- A lack of basic veterinary training to cope with first aid needs
It is important to document and conserve traditional mahout knowledge to combine it with more recent findings. As a result, we can create a wholesome approach to managing elephants under human care within Laotian culture. Learn more about the need for mahouts and soft training techniques.