Meet The Elephants

Mae Bounmy Noy

Mae Bounmy Noy

Her name means fighting spirit! Part of a group of 13 elephants rescued by the prime minister of Laos from an illegal trade. Though Mae Bounmy Noy was originally trained for circus tricks, she is enjoying her life in the jungles of the conservation center, where she is protected from trainers and illegal traders!

She is easily recognized by her floppy ears, deep cheeks, dark brown eyes and LOTS of freckles. She will be 40 this year!

Thong Khoun

Thong Khoun

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Known for his long magnificent tusks, Thong Khoun is one of the most distinguishable elephants at the conservation center. Thong Khoun is calm, and can found walking peacefully through the jungles at the center, but should never be trifled with. Other than his mahout (___________), know one is allowed to touch him. Like many rescued elephants, Thong Khoun was used for work in the logging industry, were he was likely beaten and treated badly. He, along with Boun Pheng, worked in the logging industry for many years before arriving at the center in 2018. Here, he will live out the rest of his days in peace.

Mae Khoun

Mae Khoun

Mae Khoun grew up in isolation from other elephants most of her life. Though her previous owner used her for logging, she arrived at the center in 2014 in very good condition. Her owner was very thankful for the work she did for his family, so he gave her to the conservation center to live out the rest of her happy days in peace. 

Mae Khoun is tall in size, but very shy. The mahouts call her "Lonely Soul". She is very shy, and is slowly working on making friends at the conservation center. She is making progress, though! Recently she has made friends Mae Bounmy, Mae Boun Nam and Suriya and spend most of their time together during enrichment.


Close-up of the elephant in the Elephant Conservation Center, Sayaboury, Laos, in December 2018. Laos was known as ‘The land of a million elephants’ in the past, today the elephant population in the country stands at around 800 individuals. Half of them is made up of captive elephants, and their number is in decline; the owners are not interested in breeding animals (the cow needs at least four years out of work during her pregnancy and lactation), illegal trafficking to China and other neighboring countries continues. Against this backdrop, the Elephant Conservation Center is the only one organization in Laos who is interested in maintaining the population and breeding of elephants. They have the only elephant hospital and research laboratory in Laos. The Center was created in 2011, and now the team is protecting 29 elephants that had been working in the logging industry or mass tourism, and 530 hectares of forest around Nam Tien Lake in Sayaboury. ‘If we have extra money, we buy an elephant,’ says Anthony, the manager. The primary goal of the Center, besides conservation and breeding, is to reintroduce socially coherent groups of healthy elephants to a natural forest where they can contribute to the increase of the wild population. For this reason, a special socialization programme has been developed by the biologists, where domesticated elephants learn to communicate and survive in the wild under the supervision of specialists. ‘There are not enough elephants in Laos,’ says Chrisantha, the biologist of the center. ‘We need around 5000 of a species to sustain a population, and we are nowhere near that. The efforts we are making now at least give a bit of hope for the future.’ (Photo by Oleksandr Rupeta)

Suriya was only a month old when he arrived at The Elephant Conservation center  with his mother Mae Ven. Suriya earned his name ("sun ray") when the mahouts found in picking sugar cane in a sunlit field. He is curious, and full of spunk! Suriya  can commonly be found playing with the two other juveniles Dor Khoun Meuang and Noy, or in the heard with his mother and aunties.

Being the first calf to arrive at the center, he has grown up fearless and can be a bit of a trouble maker on occasion...There is high hopes for Suriya to become a breeding male. He is in great health and displays many desirable traits for herd leader; but for now, he will need to listen to his mother and the mahouts who are teaching him everything he needs to know about being a gentleman. 

Mae Kham

Cova Foto

Mae Kham is calm, submissive, and doesn't like to swim--hence the long trunk in the picture! She was only employed in the logging industry for 6 years before she became pregnant. According her previous owner, she must have found a wild male in the forest somewhere near her village. After becoming pregnant, she was forced to retire form the logging industry, and her and her newborn calf walked all the way to the Elephant Conservation Center. The staff at EEC have been working hard to slowly integrate her and her calf with the rest of herd. The hope is that the re-herding program will be successful and she raise many more calves!



Xayo is one of the largest Elephants at the ECC! Weighing in at 3467 kg! Thats over 7,000 lbs! For being such a big bull, Xayo is known to be quite shy. This also makes him unpredictable. He arrived at the center in 2018 with a very strong temper. Like most elephants used for logging, he grew up in isolation from other elephants. The staff believe that this is the reason he is prone to musth around females at the park. He now spends most of his time with the other males, and has become good friends with the senior bull male Thong Khoun. 

Mae Khoun Noy

Mae khoun noy

Part of the original 13 elephants rescued by the Loas prime minister, Mae Khoun Noy was saved from an illegal circus trade. Given her talent for retrieving bananas out of the tallest trees, she was likely the star of the show! Luckily, she wont be used for circus tricks anymore. Mae Khoun Noy is very shy, and is having a hard time socializing with the other elephants at the park. Elephants have very complex social structures, and can even be a little "cliquey". Our hope is that the re-hearding program and enrichment time with the other elephants will help her situation. 

Dor Khoun Meuang

 Do Khoun Meuang


Dor Khoun Meuang is young and full of energy! He is good friends with Suriya and gets in a very pleasant mood whenever he is around him. Dor Khoun Meuang is still only 925 Kgs! He is apart of the original 13 as well. He loves attention from his foster family, and is commonly found exploring the jungle in his spare time. The staff here believe that he was born from a wild father. 

Mae Boun Nam

Mae Boun Nam

Mae Boun Nam's name means, "a real survivor". She has been through it all. At age 11 she was put to work at a village in the Hongsa District transporting tourists during forest treks--another reason we urge our customers to never support this type of eco tourism. While there, she had three pregnancies! Unfortunately, not all of them have happy endings. Her first born was a very healthy male. It was not long before he was sold in the Luang Prabang district at the age of Four. Thankfully, he was picked up by the ECC and he and his mother live happily at the ECC. Soon after her first birth, she became pregnant again. At some point, she escaped to eat the crops of one of the neighbouring farmers. The farmer was afraid for his family, and took drastic measure by shooting her in the in the stomach. She healed from her wounds, but her calf did not make it. Her third pregnancy was a still born.

Though Mae Boun Nam has been through it all, she maintains a positive attitude. She is very friendly, curious and loves to play and swim in the water. There is high hopes that she will again bring new life into this world. 

Mae Kham Ohn

Jimmy Beunardeau

The next Matriarch! Mae Kham Ohn is still young, but the mahouts have no doubt that she will be the next herd leader. She is dominant, and likes to protect the herd. More importantly, she is expecting! She became pregnant early last year, and is due soon! Since becoming pregnant, she has not enjoyed interacting with humans other than her mahout, Mr. Bout. Mr. Bout understands her personality and has one her trust many times. Her best friend at the park, however, is Mae Boun Nam.