welfare 024Since 2006, ElefantAsia, in partnership with the Department of Livestock and Fisheries, has worked to register the entire captive elephant population in Laos forming a national computerised database.

Supported by CEPF (Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund), we have registered over 95% of the nation's captive elephants. Thanks to the use of microchips and scanners which are compatible with those used in neighbouring Thailand, our mobile clinic team can retrieve each elephant's unique registration code and screen the database for vital information such as biodata, medical history including previous treatments or ownership details.

Each microchip is inserted under an elephant's skin in the same place on the animal's body so that ElefantAsia and government staff can easily locate and read the microchip. The procedure can cause a little discomfort, but is not harmful to the elephant.

The registration of captive elephant population in Laos has been proven beneficial to the survival of the species. Data collected is vital for to determine future population management, whilst micro-chipping works to reduce the risk of illegal trade and export of wild and captive elephants to neighbouring countries.

To further strengthen the registration process we have also commenced an elephant identification card system. With support from the US Embassy of Thailand, each working elephant is issued an identification card containing the same data as the microchips, but in paper format. The identification card is kept with the mahout at all times and can assist governmental officials monitor working elephants when scanners are not readily available.

We hope in the future to replicate our database in other Asian elephant range countries. Our aim is ultimately to have a global database recording all Asian elephants across the world.