To the circus: conservationists warn of elephant exodus from Laos. Once worshipped as gods, the endangered elephant population of Laos is under threat from a legal loophole

Mahouts (elephant keepers) are being offered incentives to conserve the elephant population of Laos.
Mahouts (elephant keepers) are being offered incentives to conserve the elephant population of Laos.

2010-08-10 - Thongmixay, Laos , Fiona MacGregor

It may be known as the Land of a Million Elephants, but conservationists are warning that the imminent exportation of more than a third of Laos´s remaining domesticated elephant calves to a Chinese circus could prove disastrous for the endangered species. Once worshipped as gods, the animals are still considered sacred by many in Laos, but loss of habitat and tradition means there are now just 20 domesticated elephants under the age of 10 left in the country.

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