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Vientiane Times

Wednesday October 12, 2011

Feature 17

New sanctuary paves way for elephant conservation Ingrid Suter, ElefantAsia

T

he first conservation centre in Laos dedicated to the conservation and breeding of the nation’s symbolic animal is nearing completion in the Nam Tien Protected Area in Xayaboury province. While such centres exist in neighbouring countries, this is Laos’ first establishment designed with the main aim of elephant reproduction. The goal is not only to increase the elephant population in Laos but to make a significant international contribution to avoid regional species extinction, a very real threat if current population trends are not soon reversed. Situated on the banks of the Nam Tien Lake, eight kilometres from the provincial capital, the Elephant Conservation Centre (ECC) is already home to a growing number of animals. A herd of six elephants has already comfortably settled in, including one baby and a female due to give birth any day. Soon they will be joined by another mother and calf, born only last week in Hongsa district. When mother and baby are fit enough to travel they will join their new family at the ECC, undoubtedly getting up to a jumbo amount of mischief with the other calves. Mr Aukham, who owns

Mae Thongkhroun, the elephant about to give birth at the ECC said “It is a very good opportunity for me because without the support of the centre I will not earn any income for a long time. Now my elephant is resting all day long and feeding in the woods around the centre. I can make money from tourism and my elephant will give birth very soon. Shortly I will own two elephants. It makes me very happy.” The centre is also planned to be an important education and tourism attraction with a difference. Founders of the sanctuary believe in bringing visitors to the elephants, not vice versa. Xayaboury province is the heartland of Lao elephant ownership with the ECC situated on 100 hectares of natural, elephant-friendly forest. Allowing elephants to live in natural surrounds makes them less stressed, more social and able to forage for a wider selection of natural foods. Mahouts also benefit from local tourism as they do not have to leave their region to earn a living working with their precious elephant. An authentic experience in an authentic part of the world, and the centre is by no means a standard tourist camp. The ECC is not just a place for pregnant cows to stay, but provides assistance to elephants throughout Laos via the onsite hospital.

Some of the Conservation Centre residents and their mahouts.

Run by the non-government organisation ElefantAsia, the elephant hospital comes complete with a laboratory for pathology and disease diagnosis along with a quarantine area. Sick and injured elephants throughout Laos stay at the centre until they are fully rehabilitated, while mahouts gain valuable skills and training in vet care and tourism. Much of the funding

will come from guests and volunteers who visit the centre. They can do so while staying in beautiful, ecofriendly surrounds. Onsite accommodation is available for short and long term visitors, offering a tranquil resting place away from the typical tourist scene. The ECC has put a great deal of effort into making the centre as environmentally friendly as possible, using

solar power, filtered water from the Nam Tien, making elephant dung paper, and printing all brochures on 100 percent recycled paper and soy ink. The ECC is a perfect place for visitors wishing to experience and learn more about the natural environment and endangered species management in Laos. Guests can also while away hours watching the calves’

mischievous and disobedient ways – it’s their favourite pastime and they love a crowd! The Elephant Conservation Centre provides Laos with an innovative tourist product while playing a pivotal role in species management. Officially opening on November 1, it is already taking bookings for its first visitors through the elefantasia website.

VACANCY ANNOUNCEMENT International Relief and Development is seeking a Country Director to supervise and manage the Cambodia country office; be responsible for all country personnel, offices, programs, security and policies; and ensure the country program is planned and executed with quality, accountability and measurable impact. The Country Director will develop a culture of professional development and teamwork for all IRD team members. S/he will be responsible for all donor communication; liaising with relevant government entities; external representation of IRD's program in country; and be the primary point of contact for inter-departmental agency coordination.

Country Director - Cambodia Based in Phnom Penh

Essential Job Functions: • Manages program strategies that animate and maximize internal and external resources and relationships; • Leads a clear vision of present and future program goals and strategies to be communicated to team members, local beneficiaries, international partners and donors; • Develops and nurtures culturally sensitive internal and external relationships and networks to ensure optimum communication and program success; • Builds strong constituencies to include IRD headquarters and regional officers and staff, international and local NGOs, government officials, donor community officials, diplomatic corps and embassies, vendors, media and the general public; • Manages with an emphasis on excellence and achievement; • Encourages a team culture of learning, creativity and innovation; • Recruits, manages and motivates an informed, skilled and efficient team; • Incorporates staff development strategies and Performance Management systems into a team building process; • Manages security and safety of the team and field office supported by necessary systems and training; • Manages all aspects of quality program design and implementation; • Establishes and maintains effective program reporting, monitoring/evaluation systems for internal and external use; • Builds and maintains structures that ensure proper segregation of duties between finance and administration; • Understands and incorporates resources, systems and structures available from IRD worldwide; • Ensures effective and transparent use of financial resources in compliance with IRD and donor policies and procedures. This position requires: • Bachelor's degree in Business Administration, International Affairs or related field with 6+ years of experience in an NGO or international organization and 3+ years in a developing country. • 2+ years management experience on a USAID-funded project. • Advanced knowledge of Microsoft Office Suite. • Fluency in English. Please apply online at www.ird.org by 21 October 2011

Vacancy Announcement for Project in Savannakhet Province Participatory Land Use Planning Project Officer (1 position) Japan International Volunteer Center in SAVANNAKHET Japan International Volunteer Center (JVC) invites qualified candidates to apply for the position of Participatory Land Use Planning Project Officer to work with our team in Savannakhet. JVC is a Japanese NGO working in the area of rural development in the Lao P.D.R. since 1989. Currently, JVC’s project focuses on community forestry and sustainable agriculture. Specific Responsibilities - To be responsible for overseeing the implementation of Participatory Land Use Planning (PLUP) in JVC target villages. - To coordinate with JVC staff, Government and local communities to ensure smooth implementation of PLUP. Abilities & Qualifications - Must have at least 5 years experience in rural development and at least 2 years in Land Use Planning - Must be comfortable using computers - Experience using GPS units and GIS software preferable - Excellent interpersonal skills with ability to communicate well and work as part of a team, as well as negotiate with partners, give effective presentations, and act as a skillful facilitator - Must be in good health and willing to work in the field for extended periods - Must be a Lao National Interested candidates are invited to submit their application in English, including Curriculum Vitae, to the address below by 17th October (Monday), 2011 *Just application is enough. Please DO NOT send certificates of training courses *Please write your earliest date of availability JVC Laos, Savannakhet Office P.O.BOX 876 Savannkhet Lao.P.D.R Tel/Fax 041- 252263 Email jvcsvk@ngo-jvc.net

vientiane times oct 2011  

vientiane times oct 2011

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