Mae Ping & Mae Bounma’s Reproduction Project

Purpose: Fighting against the threat of extinction of the Elephants in Laos
In recent years in Asia, the number and condition of elephants has worsened at a very alarming rate.  Only 400 still live in the wild and 400 in captivity, in which only a small number of females are given the time and opportunity to breed, which had led to more elephants dying than calves being born (10 deaths for every birth). According to experts, Asian elephants are a species that will disappear in the years to come if no preventive action is taken.
We believe it is essential for us to play our part to counter this threat. It is actually the reason why we have a conservation policy and project today.

At the Mekong Elephant Park lives Mae Ping and Mae Bounma, 2 females in the age of breeding that have now joined a reproduction program as nature cannot be left to act on its own. Indeed, attempting to get a female elephant pregnant is a step-by-step challenge. For the record, female elephants come into estrus (heat) with the ability to get pregnant only a few days every four months and it is through a clinical approach that one becomes aware of these very much crucial days. Furthermore, we are also challenged by the fact that captive elephants have, for some of them, lost their natural instincts making it even more challenging to read their hormonal pattern that is at times dormant.

So how are we acting and with what measures?
Every Friday, a blood sample is taken from both Mae Bounma and Mae Ping. We then send the samples to Elephant Conservation Center, thanks to their support, for the biologists there to keep a regular reading of the elephants’ progesterone level.

By following this hormone, the ovulation cycle is determined and tracked allowing to know when the females are to be placed with a male elephant.

We have a male elephant at the park, Kham Khoun, which we hope will be a match to our females. He has an important role to play for the reproduction initiative to be a success and just as much a priority.
At the Mekong Elephant Park, we make sure to provide our elephants with not only time with our valued visitors, but mostly time also where they can interact together as a herd to revive their natural bonding.

How can you help?
Of course, we can’t do this without your help. Unlike Thailand, in Laos, no elephant sanctuary is supported by public subsidy. Your support would help contribute towards:

  • Cover veterinary expenses (drugs, transport of the team, medical purchases…).
  • Provide supplementary foods and needs;
  • Build a reproduction area where our male and female can roam freely during her estrus (for at least 2 weeks at a time)
  • Welcome additional members of staff to keep an eye on the mating 24h24h
  • Cover expenses in case an outside male elephant needs to join the park to mate
  • Cover fees of the so awaited pregnancies to come

You can truly make this happen and allow both Mae Bounma and Mae Ping be mothers to calves in a well preserved and natural environment.

Help us by making a donation, visiting the park or simply sharing our story on social media. Any little help would be their best reward.

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