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Global Ideas

End of the road for Laos elephants?

The elephant population in Laos is dwindling at an alarming rate. With more animals dying off than being born, the pachyderms face a real crisis. Their numbers as well their habitat need monitoring and preservation.

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Project goal: a nursing and breeding program for the Asian elephant, introduction of REDD+ forest protection standards and reducing emissions due to deforestation in a project supported by Germany’s International Climate Initiative (ICI)

Size: a single breeding center for working elephants in Laos; eight animals live in the protected area. Only about 1000 elephants are estimated to live in Laos

Investment: around 2.4 million Euros provided by ICI

The Asian elephant is disappearing along with the forest cover in Laos. Only about 1000 pachyderms are left in the southeast Asian country. Most of them are put to work in the forests, ironically helping to destroy their own habitat. That’s despite the fact that the animals are revered in Laotian culture. Only a combination of forest protection schemes and breeding programs can help to preserve their habitat on the one hand and stabilize and boost the elephant population on the other. Currently, some eight elephants die each year while only about three to four are born in the same period.

A film by Michael Altenhenne

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