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Lens on Lao Species: World Wildlife Day 2017

George Stirrett's picture
Lao PDR’s forests are home to incredible and diverse flora and fauna.  One of the areas with a high concentration of biodiversity and endangered native species is the Nam Et Phou Louey National Protected Area in Luang Prabang, which borders Houaphan and Xieng Khuang provinces.

Located in the northern area of the country, it is the second largest protected area in Lao PDR, and co-managed by the provincial offices of forest resources conservation and local communities.

Since 2013, the World Bank has supported this area with an $800,000 grant under the Nam Et Phou Louey Tiger Landscape Conservation project. Together with the Wildlife Conservation Society, our implementing partner, the project promotes the use of sustainable natural resources and the protection of species threatened by human interaction.
The Wildlife Conservation Society has set up movement-triggered camera traps around the protected area in order to capture images of the animals living in the forest and to get a better idea of the types and numbers of species populating the area. 

These animal “selfies” give us an inside peek into the movements of some of the elusive wildlife in the area.  Several camera traps are also set at different wildlife hotspot locations throughout the ecotourism trekking trails. This offers a great opportunity for visitors in the protected area to “see” the wild animals and participate in wildlife monitoring activity. Data from these traps are also incorporated into the protected area’s wildlife-monitoring program.

This 2017 World Wildlife Day, the World Bank joins the global efforts to protect the world’s wildlife. The theme this year is “listen to the young voices,” encouraging youth around the world to support conservation issues close to their home. The Nam Et Phou Louey National Protected Area, with its unique lens on Lao wildlife, helps young people in Lao PDR get in touch with some of the local species in this biodiversity hotspot, from high profile endangered species such as the Asian elephant, to lesser-known inhabitants, like the dhole.


Leopard: Leopards are one of six species of cats in the protected area.  The others are tiger, clouded leopard, Asian golden cat, marbled cat, and leopard cat.


Sun Bear: Recent evidence shows that there is a higher concentration of Sun Bears in Nam Et Phou Louey than in other areas of Lao PDR.


Dhole:
Dholes are an endangered canine species (< 2,500 worldwide), which require an even larger hunting territory than tigers.  They eat only meat, and hunt in large packs. 


Red Muntjac:
This muntjac species is the most common type of deer in Lao forests.  It is also called a “barking deer” because of the sound it makes as an alarm call. The Red Muntjac is a favorite prey of the dhole.
Photo credits: Wildlife Conservation Society