MandaLao: Is this Laos’ most responsible elephant retreat?

(CNN) A visit to MandaLao elephant get away is a different experience to going to a typical elephant camp in Laos or Thailand.

There are no elephant trips. No circus tricks. No night elephant dances.
Instead, the human beings simply observe as these huge mammals splash in the river, wrestle within the grass, and snack on the woodland canopy.

May stark contrast to the rest of Southeast Asia, where 75% of a few, 000 elephants surveyed in visitor venues between late 2014 plus mid-2016 were living in unacceptable circumstances, according to a World Animal Protection survey .
“One of the most frequent questions we obtain from travelers is about ‘sanctuaries’ within Asia, ” Jason Baker, PETA vice president of worldwide campaigns, tells CNN.

“I usually tell people that the best elephant sanctuaries are pretty boring for people because they really just want elephants to walk around and be elephants. inch

A typical problem

Currently, the camp houses six adult female elephants plus an18-month-old baby. They were all preserved from the logging industry.
“They have this kind of individual personalities and traits. Along with Kit (the baby), sometimes we need to try two or three different things to see exactly what he wants to eat that day time, ” says Vogler.
“He won’t consume sugar cane unless you peel this for him. He’s quite ruined! ”
While the animals independently forage regarding 50% of their own food in the woodland, MandaLao supplements their diets having a mix of napier grass, banana trees and shrubs, corn and sugar cane.
If all will go as planned, Vogler says that will Kit won’t spend his expereince of living at MandaLao.
The team is dealing with a national park to reintroduce elephants into the wild.

In great company

MandaLao isn’t the only hippo center in Laos that’s trying to change the norm.
In 2011, the 106-hectare Elephant Preservation Center (ECC) has been set up in western Laos as the state’s first elephant veterinary facility, caring for animals that have been injured in signing accidents or affected by disease.
“The over-exploitation (in industries like logging) associated with elephants has led to an increase within accidents, wounds, sometimes deaths as well as the reduction of their lifespan, ” points out Sbastien Duffillot, the ECC’s owner.
“Because they are overworked, and because working in signing has become the only way their mahouts(elephant keepers)could generate an income, they are no longer getting given the chance to reproduce. ”

Being pregnant and nursing takes up to 3 years, meaning females would need a extensive break from work.
“This is not a choice for mahouts who can’t pay for going that long without revenues, inch says Duffillot.
The solution? A program that pays mahouts a four-year salary in exchange regarding letting their female cows recreate at the ECC, where ante- plus post-natal care is provided.

Looking forward

Duffillot says the problems facing elephants within Laos — and across Southeast Asia — are not going away shortly, and a master plan is needed.
According to the World Wide Fund Regarding Nature , the population of Hard anodized cookware elephants has decreased by fifty percent over the past century, from 100, 500 in the early 1900s to just fifty, 000 today.
The situation is most dire within places such as Bangladesh and Vietnam — where an estimated 200wild elephants existin each country. Meanwhile, you can find less than 1, 000 elephants still left in both Cambodia and Laos.

“My philosophy is usually, and has always been, bottom to best, and not the other way round. However it takes time. And elephants are usually vanishing fast, ” he says.
“I have confidence in people committing themselves locally, growing from a village to a district, plus thenon to a province… their achievement will raise interest at main level to build a national (and hopefully regional) programs that make feeling. ”