As most can imagine, the cost of caring for elephants is extremely high. Doing so in a manner that ensures the best quality of life for them increases costs even further. In addition to providing the best environment possible for MandaLao's adult elephants and baby, Kit, we are working to rescue more and more elephants from logging operations and protecting those still in the wild. With very limited resources the national parks of Lao remain at risk for poaching and illegal logging. By creating opportunities for greater numbers of people to visit Nam Phouy National Park we hope to directly fund conservation work in an effort to aid in its preservation and sustainability.
Our sponsorship program is aimed at those who would like to directly help ensure that our rescued elephants are well cared for and that those still living in the wild can thrive. A donation is a perfect present for elephant lovers or a means of actively supporting the broader cause of elephant protection. All donors will receive monthly updates, so you can keep an eye on our elephants and continue to be involved in important preservation work in Lao.
What it Takes to Care for Elephants
We provide each of our elephants approximately 100kg of food a day in addition to the what they eat in the wild. Sixty percent of this food is grass, bamboo and pineapple tops; thirty percent is supplemental food, including seasonal fruit and sugar cane; and ten percent is mineral based (rock salt, tamarind and mineral blocks).
In addition to daily medical checks we bring in a professional team of vets from Thailand every two months. These trips include travel costs, per diems and medical supplies
Positive Reinforcement Training
This process involves training both our elephants and their mahouts. It takes a group of three people and is conducted once a week for each elephant. This involves both paying for staff and keeping the elephants from going out with guests
Land to Roam
Including the elephant’s overnight feeding grounds and trail systems, MandaLao has over 30 hectares of land rented from both the government and private parties
For the Future
We need more land for the elephants to feed at night. This will allow their current feeding grounds to regenerate for future use as well. We can purchase and/or lease the land directly from local villagers.
It is our intent to rescue as many elephants from logging camps as we can. Most middle-aged females are approximately 1,000,000 Thai baht and babies can be double that.
In the Wild
Poaching and illegal logging remain the largest threats to wild elephants in Nam Phouy National Park. Currently there are 12 officers on staff to patrol the park, which covers 192,000 hectares. The World Wildlife Fund estimates at least 100 people are needed to properly protect the area.
Patrol Team Equipment
Each officer needs proper camping gear, apparel, medical supplies, walkie-talkie, GPS and a camera.
One of the only ways to quickly access areas deep in the park is by using a Lao style tractor. We hope to purchase at least three to expand patrol access to the park.
The best way to assess the health of wildlife populations in the park and determine what species are present is through the use of hidden cameras set up throughout the jungle.
In order to safely view wild elephants, park visitors must be high above the forest floor. By building treehouses the flow of tourism into the park can be significantly increased and proceeds then used for its protection.