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Projects in Laos PDR

ElefantAsia MVUs in Laos

Vanessa Gagne

Asian Elephant Support is pleased to help support another project of ElefantAsia! You may remember that last year we purchased a dart gun for ElefantAsia that was used to help manage dangerous bulls in musth. For those who don’t remember, ElefantAsia is a non-profit in Lao PDR that works to safeguard Asian elephants and is the only organization dedicated to caring for elephants and their mahouts in this country. Working in collaboration with governmental organizations in Laos, “ElefantAsia initiates elephant conservation programs, elephant breeding incentives, environmental awareness and economic sustainability campaigns throughout areas of Laos populated by domesticated and wild elephants.”

One of ElefantAsia’s current projects is “Capacity Building to Strengthen Management of Captive Elephants” in Laos. This is an expansion of the Lao Captive Elephant Care and Management Program, which provides free veterinary care to the working elephants of Laos. They are also working on micro-chipping the nation’s elephants, to reduce the illegal capture and trade of wild and captive elephants. ElefantAsia has also implemented the “Management of Domesticated Elephants” project which outlines and enforces fair working conditions for elephants and their mahouts, and also issues the official elephant identification cards.

There are approximately 470 captive elephants in Laos. As logging is still legal in Laos, many of the elephants are involved in this industry and they frequently suffer injuries from working in such conditions. ElefantAsia operates Mobile Veterinary Units (MVUs) that travel to remote logging locations to provide free medical treatment to these elephants. The MVUs also respond to emergency healthcare and musth management missions throughout the country.

In order to facilitate cost efficiency, the MVUs provide treatment and medicines to the working elephants while also conducting field missions to distribute the elephant identification cards. AES is impressed by the comprehensive work ElefantAsia does for the elephants of Laos and we are honored to collaborate with such a trustworthy and hardworking organization. As a result, Asian Elephant Support has agreed to donate $1800 to cover the cost of medicine used by the Mobile Veterinary Units for six months. We look forward to further collaborative opportunities with ElefantAsia.