Along with other rangers and sometimes the military, San Keomany works in Nam Pouy National Protected Area (NPA), in Sayaboury province, Laos. This vast national park is a top priority for elephant conservation, and our partner Elephant Conservation Centre have been working there, rewilding elephants and patrolling the forest, for many years.
San Keomany says, "My role is to help protect this landscape by patrolling the protected area to make sure we don’t have illegal activity inside, things like hunting and logging. Since we started to patrol more frequently, people are less likely to trespass into the park as they are scared to get caught." Below is San Keomany with some of the military who work with the rangers to protect the forest, elephants and other wildlife.
This is one of the key benefits of wildlife patrols and rangers in the forest; not only are they on hand to remove snares and work with communities, their presence in the forest is in itself also a deterrent to illegal activities.
Given that there are very few safe places left for wild elephants in Asia, national protected areas and national parks are critically important - and their only real chance at survival. The NPA just under 200,000 hectares of forest, and it's the dedicated rangers like San Keomany who are helping secure the future of this forest - and the future for elephants in Laos.
Below you can see Dor Khoun Meuang, Mae Mah and another female elephant, who have been rewilded in the NPA.
"For me, and the rest of our team, we like to do this job because we like to see wildlife in our forest," says San Keomany. "If we can conserve this area, we will see more wildlife, have bigger trees and hopefully the livelihood of the local people will improve.
"In the future we would love to see some tourism, some foreigners who want to come and visit our area. I think this would be great to help finance the park and improve the situation for some local people. With proper financial and technical support we hope to do many good things for this park in the future. Thank you!"
The ECC team came together recently for training - and you can see the whole group below!
Thank you to all our supporters who donated through our recent appeal! Your gifts in the name of the elephants of Laos will help people like San Keomany and the whole ECC team to continue to protect and save this forest and the elephants who live here.
Below you can see the ECC rangers trekking through the jungle, taking notes at an illegal logging camp in the forest, and taking part in their recent training around how to use GPS to track elephants.