Photos by Thierry Renavand © 2002

2002 - The Elephant Caravan across Laos

To help conserve the Asian elephant, ElefantAsia's debut in Laos needed to be dramatic, something to create as greater impact as possible. Our 1,300km Elephant Caravan proved to do just that, drawing huge public and media attention to the threatened emblematic animal.

Our objective was to raise awareness to the plight of the elephant both in its home countries as well as the rest of the world. Inspired by previous publications ElefantAsia's Elephant Caravan was organised in Laos, a place historically known as the "Lane Xang" or Land of a Million Elephants, and where the species still aroused a popular fervour.

The caravan of four elephants travelled 1,300km from January to April 2002. At a leisurely, yet determined pace we journeyed north from southern Laos stopping in dozens of rural villages en route as well as the cities of Vientiane and Luang Prabang.

This first expedition through Laos had a real impact on the local population. The trek working to reignite the local people's adoration for this iconic species, a rediscovery of the Asian elephant that had played such an important role in man's history for over 4,000 years. The event was widely publicised by national media, attracting visitors along the entire route. The Elephant Caravan became a national event with strong symbolic meaning and marked the start of dedicated Asian elephant conservation programmes in Laos. ElefantAsia was born.