Improving patrolling and enforcement in Nam Pouy NPA
Whilst there are many thousands domesticated Asian elephants found in Southeast Asia, this magnificent animal is being pushed to extinction in the wild, only 25,600-32,750 are thought to roam naturally throughout Asia, less than a tenth of the number of wild African elephant.
Lao PDR is considered to have the most important national elephant population in Indochina. Historically, the country has been known as ‘Lane Xang’ or Land of a Million Elephants, today Laos’ wild elephant population is estimated at between 500-1000 individuals, a third of the numbers estimated two decades ago.
Threats to the Asian elephant include loss of habitat, with continuous increases in human population resulting in constant deforestation for both settlement and agricultural purposes. Elephants need a lot of space and a lot of food, as competition for habitat and natural resources magnifies, cases of human-elephant conflict become increasingly common. A single elephant in its quest for food can devastate a small farmers’ crop in one raid. Losses to human property and, sometimes, human lives lead to retaliation by villagers, the biggest threat to the survival of the wild Asian elephant.