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Take time to travel across Laos and discover other wonderful provinces. The links below are your getaway to other natural and cultural wonders.

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Elephant Conservation Center

Elephant Conservation Center

A Natural Heaven For Laos' Elephants


The Elephant Conservation Center, located in Sayaboury in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, acts to preserve and protect the Asian elephant, a species that is on its way to extinction. Created in 2011 by a team of experts, its program is set up around the wellbeing of the animal, the reproduction, vet care, and the schooling of mahouts.

The Center only welcomes elephants that have been working in the logging industry or mass tourism., but there are also some elephants that were born because of the Baby Bonus programme, which was set up by the Center. Our herd, today about 15 elephants big, can enjoy 250 hectares of protected forest. This large area is of great importance to the quality of life of the elephants, who consume more than 200kg of food each day.

Financed almost exclusively by ecotourism activities, the Center welcomes its visitors in a family environment where the wellbeing of the elephants stays the priority: they have no obligations, nor are they submitted to touristic rides. The Elephant Conservation Center is the only active member in Laos of the Asian Captive Elephant Working Group, an international organisation that works on the welfare for elephants under human care.

Committed more generally to substantive work for the preservation of Asian elephants, the Center offers new working conditions to mahouts and new breeding opportunities for their elephants. Through several projects, it has the opportunity to inform the disadvantaged populations of the country, which traditionally live from the work of elephants.

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Why is the ECC different?

  • Rather than taking elephants from their natural home into urban tourist areas, the ECC takes YOU to THEM, in their undisturbed natural environment;
  • Through the ECC’s elephant breeding incentive programme and their elephant hospital, the money you pay sustains elephant conservation across the country;
  • Elephants at the Center are here to rest, either waiting to give birth or recovering from an exhausting life in logging or mass tourism industries. Do NOT expect to see package tours riding elephants all day long!
  • ECC’s elephants inhabit 250 hectares of protected forest set by the Nam Tien lake providing sufficient quantity and variety of natural fodder;
  • Elephant welfare is at the core of the ECC project based on the “five freedoms of animals under human care”;
  • ECC’s professional staff (veterinarian, vet assistant, and biologist) take care of the hospital, nursery, and re-herding program and will happily share their experiences with you.;
  • ECC’s facilities are ecologically friendly utilising solar power and water from the lake which we filter. ECC produce elephant dung paper and their printed communications are produced using recycled paper and soy inks. To reduce the use of new building materials, ECC’s infrastructure uses old traditional Lao houses relocated to the Center;
  • Overall, the Center is a place of learning.

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The Five Freedoms

1. Freedom from malnutrition

by providing ready access to fresh water and a diet to maintain full health and vigour

 

2. Freedom from thermal and physical discomfort

by providing an appropriate environment including shelter, shade, access to bathing facilities and social interaction with other elephants

 

3. Freedom from injury or disease

by providing :

Experienced mahouts or keepers who can handle the elephants without causing injury.

Preventative health care

Access to veterinary care

 

4. Freedom from fear and stress

by ensuring conditions and treatment which avoid mental suffering:

Limited use of bull hook (ankus), and efforts made to phase out its use for positive reinforcement training techniques.

Minimize public contact

Elephants free to move at will, escape and find refuge

Maintain elephants in social groups when at rest

Elephants should not be tethered except for welfare reasons

 

5. Freedom to express normal patterns of behavior

By providing sufficient space and areas where elephants are able and encouraged to dig, bathe, dive, forage, dust bathe etc and company of other elephants ideally in a social structure of mixed sex and age