A recent spate of elephant deaths from May to June in Nam Poui National Protected Area (NPA) has prompted a high-level investigation by the Department of Forestry (DoF) and the NPA.
WWF is devastated by these deaths, given the dwindling number of elephants in Laos and the essential role they play in ecosystems and the cultural and natural heritage of the country. Nam Poui NPA is an important stronghold for wild Asian elephants in Laos, along with Nakai Nam Theun and Phou Xang Hae protected areas.
WWF has been supporting government-led patrols in the NPA since 2009. Following the discovery of dead elephants in May and June, the number of patrols was increased and all subsequent carcasses were reported to the relevant authorities.
“Thriving wild elephant populations are a priority for WWF,” said Loris Palentini, Country Director of WWF-Laos. “Whilst the official number of elephants is still being verified by the government, even the loss of one animal is heartbreaking, and strengthens our resolve to continue working on wildlife conservation in Laos.
“WWF-Laos is committed to ensuring the long term viability of Nam Poui as a safe haven for elephants and other wildlife. We stand ready to provide all support possible and work with the government and partners to ensure that this highly-endangered Asian elephant population continues to receive the highest level of protection and management in Laos and beyond.”
“Laos used to be called Lan Xang, meaning ‘a million elephants’,” said Chris Hallam, Conservation Director of WWF-Laos. “Now there may only be a few hundred. The loss of elephants is unimaginably sad for all of us.”