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Who are we ? A unique reserve in Laos

Discover our history, origin, objectives & motivations

Animal Sanctuary Laos is a unique reserve dedicated to the preservation of wildlife in Laos. Macaques that are victims of mistreatment, black bears persecuted for their bile, as well as various species live here a peaceful life and are surrounded by professional animal caretakers.

We must act now!

Whether it is in Laos, in Southeast Asia as a whole or anywhere else in the world, wild species are endangered by damaging their environment or all kinds of trafficking. Unfortunately, acts of cruelty towards animals so not regularly make the headlines! A recent report showed, for example, the trafficking of live macaques in Laos. Laos has exported more than 40,000 monkeys since 2004 to meet the needs of the pharmaceutical industry. Numerous reports denounce the appalling conditions and the treatment reserved for the monkeys in these breeding farms which often violate internationally accepted rules. Some of them have been found dead in their cages, others very thin and/or suffering from hair loss and injuries

Macaques are not the only animals that are victims of mistreatment. The Asian black bear is yet another example. Every year, hundreds of animals die because of the extraction of their bile, which is said to have medicinal properties. In order to recover this bile, the animal is incised and a catheter is placed directly into the gallbladder, after which the secreted substance is extracted. 

Many other acts of cruelty and intolerable practices thrive in the region and are the basis of Animal Sanctuary Laos’ commitment to the protection of this unique fauna!

Reacting locally to global threats

There are also bigger threats to biodiversity. Overexploitation of land, unreasonable use of natural resources, poaching, illegal trade of wild species, and climate change… Those are putting unprecedented pressure on wildlife. Poaching fuels an extremely lucrative market valued at $20 billion a year, making it the fourth largest illegal trade on the planet after arms, counterfeit goods and humans.

Global biodiversity is declining at an alarming rate. Between 1970 and 2012, it was reduced by 58% with an impressive drop in vertebrate populations. This dramatic observation encourages us more than ever to act! This is the meaning of the project “Animal Sanctuary Laos”. Offering a sanctuary, a place to receive and take care of the threatened wildlife, as well as accompanying them on the territory.

A reserve and people

Located at the heart of an exceptional site, Animal Sanctuary Laos is currently one of the few places dedicated to the preservation of wildlife in the country. Recognized by the authorities and animated by a team gathered around Christophe, its founder, this sanctuary became a preserved case sheltering an invaluable ecosystem. Taking care of this exceptional space and the animals on a daily basis, informing the visitors about the missions of the reserve and ensuring the reception of the public goes through the strong implication of women and men of passion. They are passionate about their work and form a close-knit team at the service of the animals and visitors.

The ‘Bouba’ trigger

The origin of Animal Sanctuary Laos was the will to fight again the destruction of the environment. Christophe, its founder, fell in love with Southeast Asia more than 20 years ago. Every commitment, every passion often has deep, ingrained roots. For Animal Sanctuary Laos, the trigger was the meeting of Bouba, an endangered black bear (an emblematic endangered species). She was taken in by Christophe in April 2015, about 3 months after her birth, weighing less than 4kg and threatened with resale to traffickers. Christophe then started a very long battle and led a strong offensive against organizations likely to recover Bouba for commercial purposes. This was notably the case of the pseudo-NGO "Free the Bears".

Death threats, corruption, and various forms of intimidation did not work. Christophe and his family still wanted to save Bouba. Thanks to the support of the public and an international awareness campaign the fight was won after many years of struggle. This incredible adventure was the prelude to the development of the sanctuary and the unwavering will of its founder to protect endangered species. Today, the bear stays with its protector in the secure environment of the reserve.

Give meaning to your trip

Discovering endangered species, understanding their way of life or accompanying the caretakers in their work with animals are all experiences offered to visitors of Animal Sanctuary Laos. Far from the classic concept of zoos, you will discover the reality of life in a sanctuary dedicated to wildlife, and soak up the diversity and richness of its nature. Discover the characteristics of the animals that live there, their natural environment, the threats to them and their ecosystem… Such are the possibilities that your stay at the Sanctuary will offer you.

Allowing you to better understand in order to better act, that is the compass that guides the commitment of the ASL teams. As Gandhi said, “You can tell the degree of civilization of a people by the way they treat their animals.” We hope to count you among us in this essential fight for the future of the planet and humanity as a whole.

Focus on Christophe

Some may think that love at first sight is only for humans, but life can be full of surprises. Christophe, the founder of Animal Sanctuary Laos, also fell under a spell. A spell of a wildlife, a country, an animal and ultimately a cause when he arrived in South East Asia 20 years ago. It all started when he met Bouba, a young Asian black bear he took in a few months after her birth in a worrying state of health and threatened to be sold to traffickers. An unprecedented battle to keep this exceptional animal out of the clutches of criminal organizations began.

Today, Christophe has established an exceptional relationship of trust with his large companion. Daily care, meals, moments of joy and relaxation are examples of the complicity shared between the man and the animal. We do not see such relationships often. Fascinated for many years by the richness of fauna and flora, Christophe has developed throughout these years a curiosity and an expertise in many fields and now wishes to share with others what constitutes his life today, with a single objective: to contribute to the preservation of our environment and protect endangered species.

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