Elephants in Laos, an Elephant adventure
with Elephant Village in Luang Prabang
The life of the endangered Asian Elephants in Laos
Saving Elephants with our Elephant Adventures in Laos...
Elephants are symbols of wisdom in Asian cultures because of their excellent memory and high intelligence. Nowadays elephants are still used for ceremonial and religious purposes in Asia. Though the Elephants in Laos are in danger today!
The WWF (“World Wildlife Fund”) considered Asian elephants as endangered species. WWF estimated that Asian elephants are for two third wild elephants and one third is domesticated. There are about 15,000 Asian elephants in captivity, and only approximately 30,000 are thought to be wild on the Asian continent.
Most of the domesticated elephants are working for the logging industry.
This is a hard and dangerous job for elephants. They have to carry heavy charges and a lot of accidents happen.
Elephants in Lao culture & history
People in Asia and especially here in Laos have worked with elephants for 5,000 years. However centuries of hunting and habitat destruction caused dramatic declines. Males are still killed for their tusks, although this happens less often today thanks to a global ivory ban, in place since 1989. Today, Asian elephants thrive mostly in large reserves that do not allow them enough room to wander widely. Where elephants and people inhabit the same area, conflicts often occur.
Although historically known as “Lane Xang” (today LAOS) which means the 'land of a million elephants', Laos is gradually losing its biggest and most regal animals to human development. Nowadays it is estimated that only 2,000 elephants are still living in Laos.
The decreasing number of the elephant population represents:
1) an ecological tragedy because wild elephants are considered to become extinct from the earth within the next 50 years! Asian elephants are viewed as a threatened species.
2) a cultural loss because elephants are an important part of the Lao culture and traditions! Elephants are sacred for Lao people because they have a key role in the religion: for animist and Buddhist beliefs. For instance elephant is a symbol of mental strength in Buddhism.
Problems faced by elephants in Laos today
* Lack of food for Elephants in Laos
Normally, elephants need up to 250 kilograms a day. At present, domestic elephants lack enough food because the forest has now changed to be used for commercial benefits. Also forests areas are protected or used from villagers who can not live together with wild animals, or they don’t have the money to pay for their food.
* Lack of veterinarians and experienced mahouts
Laos still lacks veterinarians and experienced mahouts (trained Elephant handlers). There are not enough elephant specialists in Laos and foreign Vets sometimes can not provide the experience needed to work with the Elephants in Laos. When elephants get sick or injured, sometimes veterinarians and / or experienced mahouts cannot treat sick or injured elephant on time because they are too busy. An expensive solution is to call a specialist from Thailand
* Injured elephants
The elephant is a big animal. The treatments need high technological equipment and even veterinarians. When elephants get sick or injured, veterinarians and all equipment have to get ready including budget paid for the urgent cases as well. In Laos even now this medical care is very hard to find.
* Other problems for Elephants in Laos
Domesticated elephants in Laos are also faces the threats of overwork, poor health conditions and a lack of health care services even though we have dedicated organizations who have the mission to provide medical care. In addition Laos has a problem with the official elephant registration which allows illegal cross-border trading of working Elephants between Laos, Thailand, China! This means there is a certain loss of elephants annually.
The remaining working elephants of Laos need urgent protection. As elephants, which were once used only at village level, are now increasingly used within large timber
By booking an elephant ride at the Elephant Park Project, you are contributing to the well being of Asian elephants and you support the elephant’s protection and conservation…
YOU make the difference!!