In recent years Laos has received international attention after the discovery of an incredible variety of species new to science. These recent discoveries include the Saola, a strange and beautiful forest dwelling antelope-like creature, an incredible diversity of small deer species known as muntjacs, a small striped rabbit and a completely new family of rodent known locally as the Kha-nyou and closely related to porcupines.
In addition to mammals, Lao supports over 165 species of amphibians and reptiles, including species such as the Rock and Burmese Pythons, King Cobras and the large and noisy Tokay Gecko (Gekko gecko) a formidable resident of many Lao houses.
Opportunities to view this incredible diversity of wildlife are steadily growing. A long history of market and subsistence hunting have depressed many wildlife populations across the country. The increase in ecotourism and traveler's interest in viewing wildlife now provides positive financial reinforcement for residents to conserve many of these species. Let people know that you want to visit the habitats of Lao wildlife. In particular there are several projects that specifically search for gibbons and elephants.
For more information regarding wildlife in Laos please visit the Wildlife Conservation Society Laos.
Elephant Treks in Xe Pian National Protected Area: Elephant rides to the top of Phou Asa and back are available from Kiet Ngong Village. Elephant-back trips can also be arranged from Kiet Ngong and Pha Pho Villages to other places inside the Xe Pian National Protected Area.
Elephant Park Project in Luang Prabang: TigerTrail, Luang Phabang’s oldest Eco Tourism provider, now presents the
Elephant Park Project. This initiative offers a range of exciting outdoor activities while supporting local communities and protecting Elephants.
Elephant Tower at Ban Na: Overnight stay in this tower gives visitors a chance to see one of the last remaining herds of wild elephants in Laos. The tower is operated and managed by the villagers of Ban Na.
Elephant Treks in Hongsa: The Hongsa Tourist Information Center in Sayaboury Province offers two-hour-to-three-day elephant treks.
The Gibbon Experience: Tree-top accommodation located inside the Bokeo Nature Reserve with access to a forest canopy cable network.
Nam Et-Phou Louey National Protected Area: The Nam Et-Phou Louey National Protected Area is the second largest protected area in Laos and has the greatest wildlife biodiversity in the country. The protected area contains large areas of intact primary forests, and supports an outstanding diversity of carnivores including the last wild tigers of Laos. Together 19 carnivore species including six species of wild cats and roughly fifty species of mammals and 299 species of birds inhabit the NEPL NPA.
Ecotourism in NEPL NPA is supported by the NGO Wildlife Conservation Society and has been designed to create positive impacts by encouraging local people to protect endangered wildlife such as tigers and their prey. The economic benefits to local communities from ecotourism activities in NEPL NPA are directly linked to the continued existence of wildlife as each reported sighting of wildlife by tourist results in a financial reward for the local guides (all former hunters and fisherman) and other villagers involved in the ecotourism project. Read more about ecotourism in NEPL NPA on www.namet.org