Photos by Thierry Renavand © 2002

2006 - 2012 - Lao Elephant Care and Management Programme

The life of a captive elephant in Laos can be extremely hard, often working in remote areas without provision of proper veterinary care. Under this programme, ElefantAsia provided free veterinary care for sick and injured elephants via mobile veterinary clinics.

Equipped with light surgical tools, medicines, water tanks and dart gun, vehicles especially adapted for the treatment of elephants in remote areas visit logging sites, tourism centres and villages across Laos. During field missions, our veterinarians also offer onsite training to mahouts, providing advice on basic care for their animals and an illustrated elephant care manual and an elephant first aid kit.

Since 2006, our mobile veterinary clinics have completed hundreds of missions and thousands of elephant health checks (our aim being to visit each working elephant in Laos at least once per year).

Via the mobile clinics, ElefantAsia has also provided technical assistance to the Lao Department of Livestock to complete a national census of the captive elephant population and create a computerised registration database. Using microchips, scanners (compatible with neighbouring Thailand) and elephant identification cards, each captive elephant has a unique registration code meaning data such as ownership information and previous veterinary treatments can be kept and easily retrieved.

With capacity building complete, the Lao Department of Livestock is now implementing the Lao Elephant Care and Management Programme, however ElefantAsia’s team of veterinarians based in Sayaboury remain on hand for emergency missions, especially in cases of musth where male elephants can become uncontrollable and a danger to villagers.