Our Vision

What is Our Ultimate Goal?

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How We See Elephant Conservation in Laos

The Elephant Conservation Center works on the preservation of the Lao elephant population, both wild and those under human care. With the former increasingly under pressure (poaching, deforestation…) and the latter declining due to ageing, over-exploitation and illegal exports, solutions are urgently needed.

We must secure a healthy population of elephants under human care to act as a genetic reservoir if the wild elephant population were to collapse. To achieve this, we need improved veterinary care and elephant welfare regulations so as to increase the birth rate.

We also need to secure natural habitats for wild populations and captive elephants suitable for rewilding. This is what we are trying to achieve within the Nam Pouy National Protected Area.

In the years to come we will continue to develop the on-site hospital. We will also continue to invest in improved training and treatment facilities as well as our laboratory for parasitology, hormonal research, animal auto-medication, diet and reproductive research.

With the advantage of knowing the ovulation cycle of each of our female elephants, several bulls can be hired or bought to ensure a genetically diverse herd and successful breeding. Although young elephants born at the Center will not be ‘broken’ through the traditional training process to later work in logging, they will need to be controlled by their mahouts. This is achieved through positive reinforcement training.

Elephant welfare does not only refer to their physical condition. Elephants are very social animals with a complex group structure. For them to be able to live a fulfilling life, we strive to recreate an environment where a social group can be formed. The socialisation project is one of the initial stages towards the reintroduction of captive groups into the wild, which is one of our ultimate goals.

In the Sayaboury Province there is still a biodiversity hotspot where a wild elephant population roams free. Before we can release our newly formed group we need to make sure this area is safe and secured. This means setting up ranger patrols, understanding and preventing the causes of human-elephant conflicts and monitoring the movements of elephants using GPS-tracking. When we can guarantee the absolute protection of the area, we can release our first group of rehabilitated elephants.

To ensure the validity of its projects, the Center will release a new herd every few years, to adequately study the success rates of previous herds.

In 2018 we have multiplied the acreage of our land concession by 5, going from 105 to 530 hectares. In the meantime, we will continue our membership in the Asian Captive Elephants Working Group to provide creative solutions to improve the welfare of elephants in tourism facilities across Asia.