Living with Elephants in Laos,
an Elephant Sanctuary visit at Elephant Conservation Center in Sayabouri.
No doubt, this can be a highlight of your Laos Tour, the visit at the Elephant Conservation Center in Sayabouri, in the western corner of Laos, just a few hours drive from Luang Prabang.
We have visited the center a few times and wanted to share our experience with you and give you a general outline of how your visit at the Elephant Center could look like, and more importantly, how it helps the Elephants in Laos and their future…
Known as Lane Xang, or the "Land of a Million Elephants", the Lao PDR historically had large and widely distributed populations of both wild and domesticated elephants. As a living icon with important symbolic connotations, the elephant is an animal dear to the hearts of all people in the Lao PDR. Unfortunately, if the current mortality rate continues, it is safe to say that the elephant will become extinct in the near future.
Today the population stands at around 600 wild elephants.
Most of our elephants at the Elephant Center are from the Sayaboury region and have worked in the professional logging industry. Mostly Elephant cows have been rescued from this very dangerous work to be used as reproductive ambassadors for their species here in Sayaboury. A percentage from the Elephant Conservation Center’s tourism activities will be directly forwarded into the work of a locally acting NGO, into ElefantAsia. ElefantAsia is maintaining a nation-wide elephant conservation program here in Laos. This Elephant protection program is assisting elephants all over the country with medical support.
The Elephant Conservation Center (ECC) focuses on providing Lao Elephant cows with a safe environment to give birth and raise their calves. At the same time the Elephant Center is supplying an income for their owners through soft responsible tourism with the protected Elephants.
The Elephant Conservation Center also contains a specialized elephant hospital and laboratory, capable of detailed blood analysis and the provision of full-time care for two injured elephants at the same time. Numbers of Elephants in Laos, the former “Kingdom of One Million Elephants”, Lanexang, are steadily decreasing. Many Elephants disappear through natural death or by export activities and dangerous work.
Therefore, the need for a coordinated elephant breeding program in Laos has long been recognized by Asian elephant experts.
The Elephant Conservation Center differentiates itself from other Lao elephant camps by being a haven and maybe heaven for elephant reproduction, lactation, recovery and disease diagnosis. Visitors to the Elephant Conservation Center are welcome to experience the animals and through this to contribute to the Center’s Mission. Saving the Elephants in Laos!