Traditionally used in logging, captive elephants are often overworked and exhausted and as a consequence no longer breed. With only two elephants born for every ten that die, the Asian elephant, the sacred national emblem of Laos, is under serious threat of extinction. With the need for coordinated elephant breeding programmes in Laos long recognised by Asian elephant experts, ElefantAsia joined forces with the Elephant Conservation Center in 2011 to establish Laos' first elephant breeding sanctuary.
The Elephant Conservation Center (ECC) focuses specifically on ecotourism and providing pregnant or lactating cows with a safe environment to give birth and wean their calves, while supporting an income for their owners through soft tourism.
At the beggining, the ECC also supported a specialised elephant hospital and laboratory, capable of detailed blood analysis and provision of full-time care for two sick or injured elephants simultaneously.
The Elephant Conservation Center differentiates itself from elephant tourist camps by being a haven for elephant reproduction, lactation, recovery and disease diagnosis.
Of the elephants residing at the ECC, most originate from the Sayaboury region and have worked in the logging industry. Rescued from this debilitating and dangerous work, these elephants will become ambassadors for the survival of their species as they recuperate and become more receptive to breeding.
The Elephant Conservation Center is a privately run company which has worked in partnership with French-based non-profit organisation ElefantAsia from 2011 to the end of 2015.