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WWF-Laos to Prioritize Elephant Conservation

Source: Borneo Bulletin

World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is devastated by a recent case of elephant deaths from May to June in Nam Poui National Protected Area (NPA) in Laos.

The incident has led to an investigation by the Department of Forestry (DoF) and the NPA.

It has become a concern, given the diminishing number of elephants in Laos and the crucial 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 Country Director of WWF-Laos Loris Palentini. “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 Conservation Director of WWF-Laos Chris Hallam. “Now there may only be a few hundred. The loss of elephants is unimaginably sad for all of us.”