In recent years in Asia, the number and condition of elephants has worsened in a very alarming way. The Asian elephant is likely to disappear due to deforestation, urbanization and abuse.
Both the World Wildlife Fund and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) consider that the Asian elephant is an endangered species.
There are almost no more wild elephants left and the captive ones are often the victims of serious abuse, which at times lead to death. According to the current figures available, there are only 300 wild elephants and 400 captive elephants left in Laos.
Recently the veil has been lifted on the questionable methods and practices that are inflicted on the elephants. Because of cruel measures that many elephants die brutally in captivity and are no longer able to breed successfully. They may sometimes become violent towards man, even willing to kill.
According to some experts, Asian elephants are a species that will have disappeared in a hundred years from now. It is one thing we must not accept, as it would be a terrible failure for Humanity. This for a very good reason, as the pachyderms have, throughout history and religions, evolved with men. They have always been part of the identity of some Asian ethnicity, a strong symbol for Asia as a whole.
To allow its decline would be the real undoing of man. It’s actually the reason why we have a conservation policy and project today.
Let us remind ourselves what is killing the elephant today in Laos: their use for logging (mainly illegal). This practice is dangerous for the Lao primary forest which is gradually disappearing, but also for the elephants that injure themselves are left abandoned, thus causing in the worst of cases them dying of exhaustion.
The Lao « family co-ownership » system brings the family members to make their «investment» as profitable as possible, so the longer an elephant works, the wealthier they become. The elephants are therefore over-exploited and the birth rate is plummeting. In Laos, there are more elephants dying than calves being born (10 deaths for every birth). The mahouts’ revenues working on these sites are high (payable per ton) and not only according to Lao standards. Every elephant saved from this vicious cycle is a victory as should it continue, pushed to work, elephants have no time to breed. It is said that there are no more female elephants in South Laos capable of reproduction. For the record, the elephant gestation is the longest within the mammals: 2 years with an additional 3 year nursing.
lephants in South Laos capable of reproduction. For the record, the elephant gestation is the longest within the mammals: 2 years with an additional 3 year nursing.
The Mekong Elephant Park offers alternatives. We allow mahouts to earn reasonable incomes, to provide convenient environmental conditions of health and safety to our elephants but also for themselves.
OUR COMMITMENT & VALUES
We wish to encourage travelers to raise awareness and to support the protection of the Asian elephants. We strive to provide:
- A quality natural environment for elephants within a pure primary forest eating their natural food.
- A human scale park which promotes the preservation of our elephants through an elephant tourism policy.
- Sustainable opportunity for mahouts by allowing them to earn a regular income as to have the means to stay out of the logging industry.
- A camp that offers elephants a re-conversion alternative with decent living conditions.
- And to bring travelers to elephants’ home living environment and prevailing fundamental pedagogic.