The Lao Wildlife Conservation Association (LWCA) is carrying out a wildlife conservation and capacity building project to help protect wild animals in Laos.
The group met last Friday to discuss progress in regards to conservation, wildlife protection and other environmental matters. The meeting was presided over by Director of the LWCA, Dr Chanthavy Vongkhamheng.
Many conservation projects in Laos are run by expatriates while there is a lack of opportunities for Lao people. There is no strategic plan to build Lao wildlife experts and networking for exchanges is limited, the meeting noted.
Though well-intentioned, most of the ideology comes from foreign sources, which may be hard to adapt to the reality of Laos. This results in projects that come and go, which is unfortunately commonplace in Laos.
Many of these projects, though costing millions of dollars, are unsustainable. Therefore, the association was formed to address these issues. Of course, conservation in Laos can be successful and sustainable only if Lao people take full responsibility and ownership.
The LWCA aims to assist and work with the government by engaging young people who are knowledgeable about wildlife and training protected area professionals through its pilot site-base conservation, where many are working on a volunteer basis.
The LWCA is aiming to expand its network and recruit external advisors for all relevant sectors and levels down to the village level. It will support Laos’ strategies on biodiversity conservation and work closely with the government to get a deeper insight into the dynamics of conservation through active scientific research.
The goal is better wildlife conservation by increasing the capacity of conservation professionals and supporting government conservation aims.
“The Lao Wildlife Conservation Association was established in 2013 and since then it has been building capacity among Lao people to protect wildlife and build wildlife professionals,” Dr Chanthavy said.
“The project is focusing on reservation areas in Luang Namtha, Xieng Khuang and around the Saiphouluang area,” he noted.
“Laos has many wild animals to protect such as elephants, tigers, gibbons, peacocks and so on. Some wild animals are extinct in other countries but are still found in Laos.”
Wildlife and wildlife habitats in Laos are managed by Lao people and have many benefits for Lao society.
The LWCA was established in line with a prime ministerial decree issued in 2009, bringing together 30 members from international organisations, government bodies, academia and the private sector who were deeply interested and motivated to promote conservation.
Source: Vientiane Times