Laos - Nature and Wildlife
The landscape of Laos is home to a diverse variety of nature and wildlife. There are over 100 species of large mammals including tigers, Asian elephants and guars (wild cattle). In fact, the Nakai Plateau has one of the largest remaining populations of Asian elephants in Indochina. Primates are common in Laos and there are five species of gibbon, five species of macaque and four species of leaf monkey including the striking Douc Languar.
Many birds are found throughout Laos such as the Green Peafowl, the Blue-breasted Quail, the Siamese Fireback, the Red-collared Woodpecker and the Coral-billed Ground Cuckoo. There are in total 165 species of amphibians, reptiles and snakes like the Rock and Burmese Pythons and King Cobras as well as the large Tokay Gecko which is common in many Laos households. Laos is also home to a large number of beautiful butterflies.
Recent years have marked the discovery of new and unknown species in Laos. The Saola, a forest-dwelling antelope-like creature and muntjacs, a small deer species have been discovered. A small, striped rabbit and Kha-hyou, a completely new family of rodent have recently become known.
Laos has some of the most significant forest areas that remain in Southeast Asia, however, they have come under threat. Excessive logging is destroying natural wildlife and habitats and illegal poaching are posing massive threats to animals like the tiger, gibbons, Asian elephants and crocodiles. In order to combat these threats, the government is working with locals as well as conservation groups to raise awareness.
Twenty National Protected Areas (NPAs) cover nearly 14% of the country. The system of NPAs in Laos has been recognised as one of the best in the world. Some examples of National Parks that are hard at work with conservation efforts include Phou Khao Khouay National Protected Area and Bokeo Nature Reserve. Phou Khao Khouay National Park is only 40 km northeast of Vientiane and was established in 1993. Its area covers three provinces in Laos and houses and protects many animals including the Asian black bear, the sun bear, wild dogs like the dhole and jackal, the clouded leopard, otters, mouse deer and many others. The park management team works hard to protect the park by monitoring and controlling any illegal use of national reserves whether it be habitat loss or hunting and poaching.
The Bokeo Nature Reserve is 123,000 hectares of forest in mountainous terrain. It is very rich in biodiversity and is also the site of the Gibbon Experience. The Gibbon Experience is a series of treehouses that are connected by a network of zip lines which allow people to get close views of Gibbons. All funds received from ecotourism get put back into the project. The project works closely with locals to educate them about conservation as well as to change the economy from one that depends on slash-and-burn farming (when farmers set fire to rice stubble and degraded forest to improve soil fertility), logging and poaching to one that centres on sustainable conservation. This project is particularly important due to the discovery of the Black Gibbon in 1997 which was thought to be extinct. An elephant rehabilitation project is also underway.
Laos Travel Information
At Goway we believe that a well-informed traveller is a safer traveller. With this in mind, we have compiled an easy to navigate travel information section dedicated to Laos.
Learn about the history and culture of Laos, the must-try food and drink, and what to pack in your suitcase. Read about Laos's nature and wildlife, weather and geography, along with 'Country Quickfacts' compiled by our travel experts. Our globetrotting tips, as well as our visa and health information will help ensure you're properly prepared for a safe and enjoyable trip. The only way you could possibly learn more is by embarking on your journey and discovering Laos for yourself. Start exploring… book one of our Laos tours today!
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After your Laos tour, consider taking the time to visit other destinations. Goway offers exciting China vacation packages, India tours and Thailand vacation packages plus a comprehensive selection of vacation packages in many other Asian countries.
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