Nam Pouy

National Protected Area Management

Protecting Wild Elephants' Habitat in Laos

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Nam Pouy National Protected Area (NPA) is found in Sayaboury Province in Northern Laos. The protected area was identified as a top priority for Elephant Conservation by the Government of Lao PDR at a National Elephant Conservation Meeting held in 2008.
The Elephant Conservation Center has been working on elephant conservation in Laos since 2001, primarily focusing on the captive elephant population.
However, given the Government’s prioritisation and the relevance of the Nam Pouy elephant population in the region, ECC with the support of the Sayaboury Provincial Agriculture and Forestry Office work with the Government to develop a Wild Elephant Conservation and Community Development Program in Nam Pouy NPA since 2019.

Our project focuses on restoring, maintaining and increasing populations of the Asian elephant within well managed protected sanctuaries through the implementation of project activities such as:

  • Improving the rangers patrolling system and law enforcement in Nam Pouy NPA,
  • Collecting data and monitoring the existing wild elephant population,
  • Mitigating human-elephant conflicts,
  • Developing Income Generating Activities for local communities,
  • Improving forest conservation, protection
  • Establishing new land use management practices (buffer zones).
  • Releasing captive elephants into the Protected Area so that they can bond with their wild cousins.

Laos’ only National Protected Area west of the Mekong, the Nam Pouy NPA occupies 1,912 km2 of Phiang, Paklay, and Thongmixay Districts along the Thai border in the Sayaboury province.

Steep and rugged ridges – mostly of Mesozoic sandstone and shale, with limestone outcrops at their bases – characterize the NBA’s terrain, with peaks reaching 1,790 meters in the west. The NPA is the source of three main rivers – the Nam Pouy, Nam Phoun and Nam Lai – which flow east into the Mekong.

Mixed deciduous forest dominated by bamboo cover most of the NPA, though the world’s easternmost native teak forests tower over lower elevations, and seasonal evergreens occur along rivers. Researchers have found evidence of 50 mammal species in the NPA including an estimated 50-100 wild elephants, the second largest contiguous population in Laos, along with gaur, tigers, dholes, serows, and Asiatic black bears.

Nam Pouy is the northernmost home of silver langurs, and lar gibbons reside in the NPA as their habitat remains west of the Mekong. Birdwatchers have recorded 70 different species.

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