Improving Elephant Patrols in Lao PDR

Geographical location:

Asia/Pacific > Southeast Asia > Lao People's Democratic Republic

Summary

The project aims to assist the managers and staff of the Nam Pouy Natural Protected Area (NPA)to establish a programme of regular patrols in priority areas of the elephant landscape (EL) to control illegal and harmful activities and collect data on the status and use of natural resources.

The patrols will be led by the Protected Area Management Team and undertaken in cooperation with the military, the department of forestry inspection team, and key villages within the protected area.

Background

In the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, elephants remain widely but very patchily distributed in forested areas, both in the highlands and lowlands. Two important and likely viable populations are known, one in Xaignaboli Province west of the Mekong and one on the Nakai Plateau. Nam Pouy NPA is found in the Xaignaboli Province.

It is estimated there are between 500 and 1,000 elephants found in Lao PDR. The main threats facing Asian elephants are habitat loss and the resulting conflict with humans, and poaching. Elephants are targeted for poaching for ivory, but also for their skin and meat. It is acknowledged that a key conservation measure for Asian elephants is improved and enhanced field patrolling to regulate and curb the trade in ivory and other elephant products.

Objectives

1. Develop a system for patrolling and response to illegal activities in Nam Pouy NPA within four months of the project’s start date.
2. Improve the capacity of law enforcement personnel, NPA staff and local villagers to implement the system for patrolling and response within the first five months of the project.
3. Assess and adapt the patrolling system in Nam Pouy NPA.

Solution

Patrol units will be established, including members from each of the departments listed above. Data will be collected using a standardized series of forms and submitted back to the NPA management team to be entered into a database and analyzed to provide information for improved overall management of the NPA.

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