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Our actions & commitments

Our actions and commitments in favor of the animals and nature of Laos

A message of hope & a daily struggle

We will never be able to bring back the extinct species, but we can still put an end to this crisis. At Animal Sanctuary Laos, we take concrete action to save our animals who are also our friends, to preserve nature, and to communicate to the new generation the altruistic values of love, peace, mutual aid and respect for our planet.

Provide a home

One of the major and most destructive threats to wild animals is the disappearance of their natural environment. Despite the millions of hectares of virgin forest surviving in Laos, men are omnipresent. Deforestation, hunting and poaching are activities that leave no place for wild animals to live and reproduce without having to fear humankind. This is precisely what leads to the extinction of species.

Wild animals belong in nature. When they are Ieft there and when people keep their distance to protect their wild and natural environment, then the earth become a healthier and safer place

World Animal Protection

Part of the mission of Animal Sanctuary Laos is to provide living spaces for the animals, to recreate a site that is as close as possible to their natural environment and where they can live happily and in total freedom. This is the major difference with a zoo where animals are exposed and even mistreated in order to make money.

In our protected sanctuary, we allow visitors to approach the animals under certain conditions while they are accompanied by our keepers. Our main challenge revolves around the willingness to offer the chance to people to discover and explore the wilderness during their stay at the sanctuary. Indeed, for a few days, they have the opportunity to discover how we live in the sanctuary, which includes participating in the daily chores and the care of the animals, as well as to learn more about the culture and the region.

Given that some species do not have safe natural space to live anymore, they cannot be reintroduced into nature. In such cases, it is our duty to recreate a home where they can live in total happiness, safety and above all away from human threats.

Black bear in the natural park
Monkey sitting on a rock in the Laotian nature

Species Preservation

Endangered species disappear at an alarming rate, to such an extent that some of them have already disappeared forever. The IUCN Red List has estimated that 35,765 species were at risk of extinction in 2020. However, this is a serious underestimate of the actual number given that most species have not been taken into account.

It is absolutely necessary to develop protected areas where animals can live, evolve and reproduce themselves in total freedom since reproduction is the key element for the survival of threatened species. For this reason, when it is possible, Animal Sanctuary Laos conducts a process known as conservation breeding. These are very delicate processes, especially when they aim at reintroducing animals. To succeed, it is necessary to take into account factors such as behavioral learning (hunting, migratory routes…).

For instance, the giant panda who has a naturally low fecundity rate cannot reproduce himself well in captivity. Indeed, when the male does not have to make efforts to find food, then he turns out to be lazy to such an extent that he does not feel like trying to reproduce anymore. Figures do not lie, at the Giant Panda Reproduction Research Center in Chengdu, China, only 10% of them mate and only 30% of the females give birth.

As part of species conservation projects, Animal Sanctuary Laos has allocated an entire island on Nam Ngum Lake for a macaque tribe.  Years after their reintroduction, we have been able to notice that they live and feed independently in their natural environment. Human presence is not allowed on this island although it is possible to observe them by boat. We noted that clans have reformed and that the new residents of the island are reproducing, which proves that they are happy and at ease with their environment.

Caring and Accompanying

Obviously, caring and accompanying animals is one of the main activities of the sanctuary. To fulfill our missions, we make sure that each specie has its own dedicated space and is given personalized medical and behavioral care. Depending on the condition of the animal, its acclimatization to the sanctuary and its future, the team works to make sure that he can recover his life in his natural environment.

Just as we do, animals need space and intimacy. Unlike some so-called rescue centers in Laos, we prioritize the well-being of animals. For instance, we make sure that bears live in a lush environment that allows them to climb trees, play, hide, and roll around in the grass. Unfortunately, bears are usually kept on a dirt lot surrounded by fences so that visitors can admire them. This is exactly what we want to avoid.

To put it more clearly, we truly love each and every one of our residents and we invest lots of energy and money to make sure that all animals living in the sanctuary live a happy life in a place that resembles their natural environment as much as possible. 

A caretaker takes care of an Asian black bear
A little boy gives a hug to an elephant

Education and prevention

Ignorance and lack of information cause the most damage. Even traffickers and poachers are sometimes unaware of the catastrophic scope of their actions. This may be due to a lack of education or simply to a lack of sensitivity towards animal suffering. And after all, many of us are still indifferent to the slaughter of animals that we tolerate to eat meat. Indeed, 65 billion animals are killed each year all around the world for their meat.

The same goes for consumers. Whether it is a private individual acquiring a small lori, a Philippine eagle, a baby wolf on a market or a buyer convinced of the alleged medicinal virtues of a magic powder, many ignore the laws in force, many are unaware of the origin of the products and most of them do not even know about the endangered species. This is why it is necessary to keep on informing people to change their mentalities about pseudo-medicine which is responsible for this massacre of wild animals. We also fight to provide information because as in any business, if there is no buyer, then the trade collapses. The issue also lies in the fact that some people commit such extreme crimes because it constitutes their only source of wealth to feed their families. Unfortunately, the majority of the income generated from the killing of animals goes to black market and to a regional mafia that is also involved in human and drug trafficking, and not to local hunters.

As such, one of our missions is to share accurate, authentic and denunciatory information in order to debunk myths, to inform the local population and to raise awareness among young people about the condition of animal life in Laos. We are deeply convinced that an effective and long term fight for animals involves both information and prevention.

In our own region in Laos, at the local level, we have fought to put an end to activities that devastate nature and the ecosystem, such as bird hunting and dynamite fishing. We keep on fighting by creating or supporting many educational projects such as the upcoming publication of a free and entertaining book for schools which we consider as an educational and citizenship tool to make children aware of the importance of the conservation of Lao species and nature.

Flora conservation

The sumptuous Laotian flora attracts travelers from all over the world looking for authenticity. From North to South, the country is 1,600 km long and offers wonderful landscapes on 236 800 km2. Nearly half of the country is dominated by tropical forest.

Unfortunately, massive and silent deforestation is breaking all records in a region where primary forests are increasingly threatened. International experts estimate that between the 1940s (during the French protectorate) and the early 2000s, the country’s forest area dropped from 70% to 41%.

The export of raw timber has been prohibited since 2004, and a system of quotas has been established in specific areas. However, these limits are obviously not respected. A government plan is currently being developed to increase the country’s forest density.

For centuries, traditional cultivation also known as ray farming has been the main cause of deforestation in Laos. Today, deforestation is the result of many factors, but most notably illegal logging, agricultural expansion, industrial plantation development, hydropower development, mining and other infrastructure development.

The disappearance of wild animals is a major disaster for our forests

Animals play an essential role in the forest. Indeed, they provide ecosystem services, disperse pollen and seeds and regulate other animal populations such as insects and pests.

“Because we see a forest with plenty of trees it does not mean that everything is going well.” Kent Redford called for caution when he scrutinized mainstream thinking about forest conservation in an essay entitled “The Empty Forest” published in BioScience almost 30 years ago.

Many of these forests are "living dead" and even if they appear as wooded areas to the satellites that fly over them, which is reassuring, in reality they are emptied of much of their wildlife. An empty forest is a doomed forest

Kent Redford

Taking local action for the sake of nature

On site, our local actions for the sake of nature consist in protecting as much as possible the fauna in the sanctuary area, planting trees, medicinal plants and rare or endangered species. Christophe who is the founder of Animal Sanctuary Laos is also a nature and plant enthusiast.

With the assistance of professionals and volunteers, we are conducting a permaculture project in order to preserve the environment, promote biodiversity and save energy.

When it is possible, we also endeavor to produce food for the sanctuary’s animals directly on site by planting fruit trees. It is urgent to reconsider the human-nature-animal relation and to consider it as a reciprocal enrichment. Each and every gesture matters, so why deprive ourselves of the tastiest ones?

Man planting a tree

Our ambition

Wildlife crime is a global problem that has a local solution. Deforestation and over-exploitation of land, unsustainable use of natural resources, introduction of invasive species, poaching and illegal trade in species as well as climate change and pollution are putting unprecedented pressure on wildlife. In Laos and Southeast Asia, we focus on the most vulnerable and iconic species, but also on those that play a major role within ecosystems.

We aim at developing ourselves to reach more and more people all around the world but also among the local population. We aspire to expand with the help of the government in order to allocate more protected areas to animals, to recruit rangers and to eventually have a strong impact in our fight for nature and endangered wild animals living in Laos.

Are you interested in our cause? We need your help! All our actions are particularly expensive in both human and financial resources. Indeed, our initiatives require the mobilization of many professionals as well as specific materials. 

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