Elephant Conservation Center
The team from the Elephant Conservation Centre has been working on elephant conservation in Laos since 2001. Through years of partnership with Lao Forestry authorities, international organizations and the very best mahouts of Laos, ECC developed a powerful & sustainable model for elephant conservation. The bulk of its funding comes from paid visits to the site. Since the ECC opened in 2011 it has been a pioneer in conservation of this iconic species.
Come Meet Elephants
The Elephant Conservation Centre is located in Sayaboury Province, on the edge of a large lake, backing onto Nam Pouy National Protected Area. This unique location allows the elephants to have access to large areas of protected forest and is an essential part of the rewilding program. The lake gives guests an opportunity to swim and kayak while giving the elephants a safe place to wash.
Come meet Elephants
Staying at ECC
The ECC main area is made up of a number of private bamboo bungalows, a small restaurant and bar, bathroom facilities, a private rosewood lodge, and staff facilities. There are also a number of viewpoints and trails throughout the centre.
Nam Pouy National Protected Area
The stunning Nam Pouy National Protected Area is home of ECC elephants, that are hoped to be released in its more than 200.000 hectares of forest. The protected area also hosts a variety of other species, such as leopard cats, bears, serows, dholes or garus.
There are currently 34 sweet Asian elephants at ECC. The centre provides elephants with 6000 hectares of elephant pastures, and all its professionals work hard to reintegrate them in nature. In March 2019, a first heard of 5 elephants was set free into the Nam Pouy National Protected Area.
ECC is the only Elephant Sanctuary in Laos that has developed a professioal hospital for Asian elephants. We hope you understand that medical care of our elephants is only carried out by qualified vets, so that´s one thing you won´t be able to participate at when visiting the Center!
All tours at the Elephant Conservation Centre include transport to and from Luang Prabang. You could also be picked up form Sayaboury. The center is as well accesible from Vientiane by minibus or from Vang Vieng by bus or van, and always reachable by road if you choose private transport.
Sayaboury (Sainyabuli, Xayaboury) is a province in Northwest Laos, frequently referred to as “The land of the million elephants“. Known for its impressive natural heritage and wildlife, it is also an unexplored haven of ethnic villages and ancient costumes in Laos. Visiting the Elephant conservation Center is surely the top thing to do when in Sayaboury!
Elephants at the ECC are looked after by full time professional staff. The centre has the only elephant hospital in Laos and a Lao veterinary assistant. Full time staff ensure that the elephants are taken care off and all their needs are met. The long term goal of the ECC is to release a herd of wild elephants and lots of time is dedicated to rewilding the animals, allowing them to develop the skills and knowledge they will need to survive in the wild.
The ultimate goal of the Center is to release elephants back to Nam Pouy National Protected Area. To do this successfully the elephants need to form a strong herd bond and learn to take care of themselves in the wild. All the elephants at the ECC have come from the logging and tourism industries and have lived in captivity most of their lives. They do not have the social skills to survive as a herd in the wild and the ECC staff spend a lot of time observing their behaviours and working to form strong social bonds within the group. Elephants spend as much time as possible in natural areas, learning to forage and work as a cohesive herd. As a guest at the ECC you can see this process in action, observing the elephants in socialisation areas and in the jungle.
Where to sleep at ECC
Private Bungalows are made of bamboo in traditional Lao style. Each bungalow has a balcony overlooking the lake with a hammock. Hot showers are available in the shared bathroom facilities.
The Rosewood Lodge is a stunning example of traditional Tai Lue architecture. Standing on rosewood stilts the lodge offers a terrace, four large rooms, and private bathrooms. The Lodge is an excellent way to stay in style at the ECC and a great choice for groups or large families.
Dormitories are available for school groups or guests volunteering at the ECC. The dormitory is a converted wooden mahout residence with bunk beds. Hot showers are available in the shared bathroom facilities.