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MORE THAN 1O YEARS OF CARE, PROTECTION AND CONSERVATION FOR LAOS ELEPHANTS

Established 2008, Manifa Elephant Camp is a safe retirement home for elephant to live. Located in Ban Xang Hai village., approximately 20 km from Luang Prabang city, covering 110 hectares of jungle beside the Mekong river.

This beautiful nature friendly sanctuary offers visitors an ideal destination to learn and interact with our these incredible animals. Currently we are caring and protecting 17 rescued Laos elephants.

OUR HISTORY

Manifa Elephant Camp is privately operated and solely owned, founded and directed by Pai (Mr Vilayluck Voutivong)

In the mid 80’s, when Pai was growing up in Luang Prabang, his father took him to see first hand how elephants were used to work in the forests dragging and carrying logs or transporting rice and other commodities through the road-less jungle

Instantly Pai fell for these charming animals and he began his elephant learning journey his mission to protect and save the elephants of Laos from the many threats these endangered animals are facing

By 2008 Pai had comprehensively studied and vigorously trained to be a successful mahout, a teacher | a trainer | a husband | a father | a son and an admirable and well respected leader as he began Manifa Elephant Camp with 3 elephants on the banks of the Mekong river.

Passionate about his recent elephants endeavors and his love of the outdoors, he knew this lifestyle was for him. During 2008 – 2018, he has been able to purchase and acquire 110 hectares worth of land where he opened the now hub of Manifa Elephant Camp home to 17 elephants. Manifa Elephant Camp continues to expand and progress toward the long term goal of protecting the sacred elephants of Laos and goes on providing a safe place and ample space for current and future elephants

OUR MISSION

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WE PROTECT AND CARE FOR ENDANGERED LAOS ELEPHANT BY PROVIDING A SAFE AND LUSH ENVIRONMENT FOR THEM TO LIVE THE REST OF THEIR LIVES

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WE BELIEVE IN THE PROMOTION OF ETHICAL TRAINING AND TREATMENT FOR ELEPHANTS. WE HAVE HIGH HEALTH AND SAFETY STANDARDS AND PROVIDE ABUNDANT ONGOING SUPPLIES OF WATER, FOOD AND NATURAL VEGETATION FROM OUR DENSE FOREST PROPERTY.

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WE HELP THE PEOPLE OF LAOS BY PROVIDING OPPORTUNITIES THROUGH EDUCATION, TRAINING & EMPLOYMENT

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WE OFFER ALL VISITORS MEANINGFUL EXPERIENCES WITH OUR ELEPHANTS

MANIFA ELEPHANT FAMILY

MAI KHOUN

ME#01 AGE: 21 YEARS OLD | MAHOUT NAME : MR SONE BIRTH PLACE : HONG SA TOWN, XAI YA BURY PROVINCE, LAOS (2008 MANIFA INTEGRATION – 2013 MOVED IN TO CAMP)

MAI KHAM

ME#02 AGE: 32 YEARS OLD | MAHOUT NAME : MR SOME SAK BIRTH PLACE : PAK OU TOWN, LUANG PRABANG PROVINCE, LAOS (2008 MANIFA INTEGRATION – 2013 MOVED IN TO CAMP)

MAI BOUN DOK

ME#03  AGE: 31 YEARS OLD | MAHOUT NAME : MR SAY BIRTHPLACE : MUANG THONG MISAY TOWN, XAI YA BURY PROVINCE, LAOS (2008 MANIFA INTEGRATION – 2013 MOVED IN TO CAMP)

MAI THONG KAME

ME#04  AGE: 26 YEARS OLD | MAHOUT NAME : MR NONE BIRTHPLACE : NGEAN TOWN, XAI YA BURY PROVINCE, LAOS (2009 MANIFA INTEGRATION – 2013 MOVED IN TO CAMP)

MAI MANG MEE

ME#05 AGE: 39 YEARS OLD | MAHOUT NAME : MR MOON BIRTHPLACE : MUANG NGEUN TOWN, XAI YA BURY PROVINCE, LAOS (2009 MANIFA INTEGRATION – 2013 MOVED IN TO CAMP)

MAI MANG KANG

ME#06 AGE: 26 YEARS OLD | MAHOUT NAME : MR NONE BIRTHPLACE : NGEAN TOWN, XAI YA BURY PROVINCE, LAOS (2009 MANIFA INTEGRATION – 2013 MOVED IN TO CAMP)MOVED IN TO CAMP)

MAI THONG BAI

ME#07  AGE: 36 YEARS OLD | MAHOUT NAME : MR NO BIRTHPLACE : MUANG THONG MISAY TOWN, XAI YA BURY PROVINCE, LAOS (2009 MANIFA INTEGRATION – 2013 MOVED IN TO CAMP)

MAI KHAME TANE

ME#08  AGE: 24 YEARS OLD | MAHOUT NAME : MR TAEY BIRTHPLACE : MUANG THONG MISAY TOWN, XAI YA BURY PROVINCE, LAOS (2009 MANIFA INTEGRATION – 2013 MOVED IN TO CAMP)

MAI KOD

ME#09 AGE: 21 YEARS OLD | MAHOUT NAME : MR PANE BIRTHPLACE : NGEAN TOWN, XAI YA BURY PROVINCE, LAOS (2009 MANIFA INTEGRATION – 2013 MOVED IN TO CAMP)

MAI BOUN PHEANG

ME#10 AGE: 27 YEARS OLD | MAHOUT NAME : MR LAI BIRTHPLACE : BORTAN TOWN, XAI YA BURY PROVINCE, LAOS 2015 MANIFA INTEGRATION – 2017 MOVED IN TO CAMP (2009 MANIFA INTEGRATION – 2013 MOVED IN TO CAMP)

MAI MOUNHOME

ME#11  AGE: 34 YEARS OLD | MAHOUT NAME : MR LONG BIRTHPLACE : MUANG THONG MISAY TOWN, XAI YA BURY PROVINCE, LAOS (2009 MANIFA INTEGRATION – 2013 MOVED IN TO CAMP)

PAI KHAM DEE

ME#12  AGE: 26 YEARS OLD | MAHOUT NAME : MR PHU BIRTHPLACE : HONG SA TOWN, XAI YA BURY PROVINCE, LAO (2009 MANIFA INTEGRATION – 2013 MOVED IN TO CAMP)

MAI KHAMSONE

ME#13 AGE: 19 YEARS OLD | MAHOUT NAME : MR PHET BIRTHPLACE : PAKLAI TOWN, XAI YA BURY PROVINCE, LAOS (2009 MANIFA INTEGRATION – 2013 MOVED IN TO CAMP)

MAI BAOVANH

ME#14 AGE: 38 YEARS OLD | MAHOUT NAME : MR HOUMPHANG BIRTHPLACE : HONGSA TOWN, XAI YA BURY PROVINCE, LAOS (2016 MANIFA INTEGRATION – 2018 MOVED IN TO CAMP)

MAI KHAMMONE

ME#15  AGE: 38 YEARS OLD | MAHOUT NAME : MR BOUNLEU BIRTHPLACE : PAKLAI TOWN, XAI YA BURY PROVINCE, LAOS (2016 MANIFA INTEGRATION – 2018 MOVED IN TO CAMP)

MAI BOR LOY

ME#16 AGE: 32 YEARS OLD | MAHOUT NAME : MR VADSANA BIRTHPLACE :MUANG THONG MISAY TOWN, XAI YA BURY PROVINCE, LAOS (2016 MANIFA INTEGRATION – 2018 MOVED IN TO CAMP)

ME#017  AGE: 33 YEARS OLD | MAHOUT NAME : MR SI VAI BIRTHPLACE : NGEAN TOWN, XAI YA BURY PROVINCE, LAOS (2016 MANIFA INTEGRATION – 2018 MOVED IN TO CAMP)

YOUR INVOLVEMENT & PARTICIPATION

As a visitor, to both our county and to Manifa Elephant Camp, you are helping contribute to the ongoing regeneration of healthy elephants across Laos and their continued protection.

At Manifa Elephant Camp we greatly appreciate every guest that visits our property and we sincerely hope you have relished what we have to offer , we openly share and help educate to bring new understanding and awareness to each person that spends time with us.

FAQ ON ELEPHANT

We note our policy here and promise to make our camp better place for elephants.

Manifa Elephant Camp guarantees “The Five Freedoms of Animal” to all our elephants as long as human safety is secured
  1. Freedom from hunger or thirst by ready access to fresh water and a diet to maintain full health and vigor
  2. Freedom from discomfort by providing an appropriate environment including shelter and a comfortable resting area
  3. Freedom from pain, injury or disease by prevention or rapid diagnosis and treatment
  4. Freedom to express (most) normal behaviour by providing sufficient space, proper facilities and company of the animal’s own kind
  5. Freedom from fear and distress by ensuring conditions and treatment which avoid mental suffering

Yes, we offer guests and visitors “Cruelty Free Riding”  in all our elephant programs. These days, when it comes to ethically riding elephants, we at manifa elephant camp, have identified

  • It is not about riding vs no riding
  • It is not about chair or bench vs no chair or bench
  • It is not about howdah(1) vs bareneck
  • It is about the weight carried by the elephant
  • It is about individual, clear and consistent communication
  • It is about safe and specific training programs
  • It is about the overall health and wellbeing of the animal

This is why we are devoted to ensuring the welfare, training and care of all our current and future elephants. We consider Elephants should be managed and handled using humane evidence-based practices.

(1)A howdah is a seat for riding on the back of an elephant

Manifa Elephant Camp consider an adult elephant can carry 2 people on its back in the following condition.

  • The weight carried by elephant should be less than 10% of the elephant’s body weight
  • If the gear used on the elephants such as saddles are properly constructed and fitted
  • Appropriate management of working hours and health based on the elephant’s ethogram
  • Elephants have undergone humane training

We will quote the opinions from two expert groups that support our view:

Studies have not been done on elephants; however, in horses, dogs and donkeys, the weight carrying capacity is about 20-25% of their body weight, which equates to over 600 kg for an average sized elephant weighing about 3,000 kg. Furthermore, the front and rear long bones of elephants are particularly strong because they do not have a bone marrow cavity, but instead have a dense bone structure. This means they can bear more weight than many other mammals. Elephant saddles should be properly cushioned and not apply pressure to the spine. If the working hours are limited and the terrain is suitable, two people in a saddle (less than 10% of the elephant’s body weight) will not be an undue stressor for an elephant. The weight of one or two people without a saddle (less than 4% of body weight) would hardly be noticed. (Asian Captive Elephant Working Group)

While the topic of riding elephants is a vexed issue we believe: That if the elephants undergo humane training, if they carry no more than 2 tourists at time, work a limited number of hours per day, a limited number of days per week, and a limited number of weeks per year…. (Human Elephant Learning Programs)

This is one of the most frequently asked question from visitors.  Although many people believe that it would be nice if all elephants could be allowed to roam freely around in the jungle, the reality is that this is rarely possible. Chains are the simplest and safest tool to confine these large and potentially dangerous animals to a specific area.

For safety both of Elephants and neighbor villagers, we keep Elephants chained with a thirty metre long chain at night in our 110 hectares forests while changing to the location where plenty of foods available.

 

The fact is that, if you can interact with an elephant (touching/riding/feeding/bathing), the elephant has been experienced a long time training including the forced process. Old videos labelled as “Phajaan training” can be found on the internet. But such methods are thankfully much less common today. Now mahouts are recognizing the benefits of using more humane and ethical training methods based on evidence.

Elephant training, like the training of all animals can be cruel when it’s done badly. When elephants are trained to respond to light cues and have reliable habits, training poses no threat to their welfare. In fact we have seen that in places where the elephants are completely free to run off into the forest at any time during training such as in Nepal and India (Manas and Kaziranga), we have typically seen that they show up voluntarily for their training each session. When they are fully trained, they also show up at the training camps for their work in anti-poaching surveillance or first monitoring and other eco-management jobs. (stated by Dr Andrew McLean, Expert Elephant Trainer and one of the Founders of “H-ELP”)

The stick apparatus the tool used in conjunction with other methods by mahouts in the handling and training of elephants is referred to by a few names – the elephant goad | – a bullhook or – an ankus

The correct use of this tool is for the rounded end to be specifically positioned on the elephant and then apply gentle of pressure.

It does not cause any pain to the elephant

Think of it in the same way you would a dog’s leash or a horse’s bridle being used properly

In any situation where an elephant may panic, this tool can be used to ensure the safety of the elephant and those around him/her without causing damage or injury to that elephant. Not carrying a hook is dangerous for both the elephant and any people around.

As with all tools, however, this tool can be misused or used purely for punishment, which is not its intended use. The way to ensure the proper use is to educate and train mahouts properly so that they are capable and confident in their ability to safely handle an elephant.

Although our veterinarian can come here 24/7/365 for emergency care as soon as mahout find unusual things in his elephant, it’s rarely happened.

The most important thing to keep elephants health, as same as human, is to eat good foods. Our 110 hectares forest property can supply plenty of fresh & quality vegetation and water for all our elephants.

Many elephant camps have smaller sites for their elephants and give hay (dried weed) which procured from outside. The result is a regular vitamin injection by a veterinarian.

It’s very difficult that a domesticated elephant return to the wild. None of elephant protection groups have ever succeed to this in Laos. Some may success to the mission in the future. But it will be ended merely an advertisement for their donators. (No real impact on recovering the number of wild elephants, as long as Laos government does not change their policy drastically) If all domesticated elephants are forced to return to the wild now, the extinction crisis will accelerate as a result.