Tourism in Laos has practically come to a standstill since the pandemic outbreak due to the still active border closures. This has had catastrophic consequences for the Elephant Conservation Centre, which depends on visitors. The ECC is therefore turning to us and you with an urgent call for help.
Just over a year ago, we reported the devastating impact of the Corona pandemic on the organisations we support. While the pandemic now seems to be easing in Europe thanks to vaccination progress, many countries in Southeast Asia are struggling with the virus as never before.
The Elephant Conservation Center reacted early to the threat of dwindling funds and drastically cut its operating budget in 2020 at the beginning of the Corona pandemic, hoping to get through the crisis until international travel is safe again.
But the pandemic continues. And now, in 2021, the ECC faces an even bigger threat. Nothing less than bare survival is at stake. Without the necessary financial resources, the ECC will be forced to let go of both mahouts (elephant keepers) and key staff so that they can earn money to adequately feed and care for their own families. An additional salary cut below the 2020 level is simply not sustainable for them.
Without the mahouts, the work of the ECC will end. If that happens, the momentum, expertise and "esprit de corps" that the ECC team has worked so hard to build over the past 20 years will be lost.
Furthermore, the fate of the 34 elephants currently in ECC's care (and those awaiting rescue and birth) will be plunged into uncertainty. And with it, ECC's long-held hope of rebuilding the endangered Asian elephant population in Laos. Indeed, the closure of the ECC would be a tragic, heartbreaking legacy of the global pandemic. It could mean the beginning of the end for the elephants in Laos.
That is why the ECC is calling for people to stand up to this impending fate: "We must hold out until the pandemic is over. We need you! The elephants need you!"
We, therefore, call on you: Help save the Elephant Conservation Centre in Laos! Share this appeal with your friends and family members and support us in keeping the ECC alive!
After two and a half long years, we were finally able to feel Southeast Asian soil under our feet again in spring 2022, albeit with geographical restrictions.
What would you do if revenues dried up but you had dozens of elephants to look after? The Elephant Conservation Center (ECC) in Sayaboury, Laos faced this situation as COVID-19 lockdowns and travel bans bit in March 2020. ECC founding partner Sébastien Duffillot shares what they did.