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Lao Zoo Refocuses Vision From Entertainment To Education

Source: Vientiane Times

Lao Conservation Trust for Wildlife (LCTW) is improving Lao Zoo at Ban Keun village in Thoulakhom district, Vientiane province to turn it from a place focusing on entertainment into a hub for conservation and education about native fauna.

Administration Assistant at LCTW, Mr Vuethao Vangkou updated local media last week during a workshop for journalists on wildlife crime prevention in Vientiane saying the facility is currently being revamped before relaunching to the public.

The overhaul will include upgrading animal enclosures, establishing a museum of natural science, and improving its wildlife education programme, especially by organising dedicated tours for visitors.

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Mr Vuethao said LCTW began the upgrade last month and the facility is expected to reopen to the public next year.
Zookeepers will guide visitors with an emphasis on education about wildlife during the tours.

Presently, the zoo’s associated rescue centre has more than 400 animals in rehabilitation, including some that are set to be re-released into conservation forests in Laos.

Mr Vuethao reported LCTW also plans to partner with the European Union and the Wildlife Conservation Organisation on projects to combat commercial wildlife crime.

Other LCTW activities include officially launching a nationwide Wildlife Rescue Hotline, as well as encouraging state authorities through training programmes to promote wildlife rescue, rehabilitation and release programmes.

According to the LCTW website, in early 2015, the Lao Zoo, which is operated by a Lao-Thai family, called upon other Wildlife NGOs to consult with the zoo. This is when the rescue centre and sanctuary projects first started, the first multi-species rescue centre in Laos.

Since 2015, the centre has grown, projects have expanded, and in 2018, the LCTW was established as the first and only non-profit multi-species rescue, conservation and education centre registered in Laos.

The centre will also continue to work with the government and other non-governmental organisations to tackle issues that affect wildlife in Laos.