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Laos was known as the Land of a Million Elephants (Lane Xang) but the elephant in Laos is now a profoundly endangered species. Some 1000 remain, of which an estimated 500 work in the forest industry harvesting timber.Harvesting of timber in Laos is diminishing and it’s just a matter of time before this becomes obsolete. This translates into hundreds of jobless elephants.Keeping an elephant is very costly and labor-intensive. Above all, it is because elephants need tremendous amounts of food.There have been a few efforts towards releasing elephants into the wild in Thailand with little success. Domesticated elephants are no longer naturalised to life in the jungle and there is little ‘wild’ left in them . Thus, releasing elephants into the wild doesn’t appear to be a viable alternative.These former logging elephants face a bleak future because they will find themselves on the margin of urban environments with no chance of finding adequate food or water and no access to veterinary care. Some say many of the soon-to-be jobless elephants may even be killed, or abandoned to a slow starvation. Elephant Village also supports the local community and increase people’s well-being while working towards the survival and safety of the elephants. The project employs villagers from Ban Xieng Lom as Elephant Lodge staff, maintenance workers, cooks and guides. A few also train to become mahouts.
River valleyFormer logging elephantsMahoutCostlyElephant villageEndangered speciesTuskTushesIncisorsEarLow frequenciesOpen mouthElephant skinEyesElephant hairElephant hairTailFeetElephant wasteHerbivorous