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Laos’ first elephant breeding sanctuary opens

Thursday 29 September 2011, by Ingrid Suter

ElefantAsia has collaborated with the Elephant Conservation Centre to establish Laos’ first elephant breeding sanctuary.

The Elephant Conservation Center (ECC) focuses on providing cows with a safe environment to give birth, wean their calves while supplying an income for their owners through soft tourism. The ECC hosts a specialised elephant hospital and laboratory, run by ElefantAsia. This much-needed hospital is capable of detailed blood analysis and the provision of full-time care for sick and injured elephants. The hospital has been built thanks to the contribution of Association Beauval Conservation et Recherche.

Currently six elephants are residing at the ECC located on the banks of the Nam Tien dam, eight kilometres from Sayaboury city. Mae Thongkhoun, a resident cow at the ECC is due to give birth at the conservation center in October 2011. This will be the Center’s first birth, marking the beginning of what is predicted to be a very fertile breeding facility.

The need for coordinated elephant breeding programmes in Laos has long been recognised by Asian elephant experts. Elephant Conservation Center differentiates itself from elephant tourist camps by being a haven for elephant reproduction, lactation, convalescence and disease diagnosis. Do NOT expect to see package tours riding these elephants all day long! Visitors are welcome to the ECC and are requested to adhere to the Center’s objectives of caring via helping. Guests are encouraged to contribute in some capacity to improve the Center’s facilities, infrastructure or local revegetation activities. While enjoying the center’s tranquil surrounds and herd of elephants.

Most elephants at the ECC are from the Sayaboury region and have worked in the professional logging. Cows have been rescued from this debilitating and dangerous industry to be used as reproductive ambassadors for their species. A percentage from the Elephant Conservation Center tourism activities will be injected into ElefantAsia’s nation-wide elephant conservation projects and programmes, assisting elephants not just at the ECC but throughout Laos.

Visit the Elephant Conservation Center website to learn more about Laos’ first breeding sanctuary and how to book your visit. The center offers visitation packages for day-trippers and long-term guests alike.

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