Asian Elephant Rescue from Chinese Casino

"Boten is a desolate outpost [in the Golden Triangle] on the border with China, and most of it is a “special economic zone” under a 99-year-lease to the Chinese, meaning China pretty much has free reign here. 

This is where elephants are trafficked out of Laos, either by walking a secret trail or being trucked covertly over the border.

Boten was also the home of two elephants, Joumban and Mae Seang, a 34-year-old male and 32-year-old female respectively. They spent most of their time in the parking lot behind a neon-lit spot called the Club Excellente. (...)

At sunset tour buses packed with middle-aged tourists begin arriving in the parking lot. They are met by a team of cabaret performers. Techno pop blares across the parking lot, and everyone poses for selfies with the performers and the elephants.

Later at night, after the show inside the club concludes, the tourists and performers spill out into the parking lot, dancing and singing in conga lines around a giant bonfire, the music still blasting, the picture-taking continuing. This goes on for hours until the last tourists stagger onto the buses and drive away. 

This same scenario unfolds every day and every night.

Through it all, Joumban and Mae Seang stood there, chained to the pavement, little more than hulking background props. The night I was there, I watched as Mae Seang approached Joumban and wrapped her trunk around his. They stood close together and nuzzled, basically, as human chaos swirled around them. They softly explored each other’s mouths, ears, and eyes with their trunks. They did this for some time.

I have no idea what this means. I don’t want to anthropomorphize. But in that moment it seemed pretty clear to me that Asian elephants are not meant to live in parking lots behind drag show clubs. They are creatures of the forest, designed to roam free, far, and wide. I don’t think it’s a stretch to assume that Joumban and Mae Seang were offering each other a bit of comfort in that confusing hell-scape, each of them sensing they’re all the other has. "

- Karl Ammann, Environmental Journalist

Thanks to the financial support of Karl and Katherine Ammann and their friends and intense negotiations with current owners, we have managed to secure the rescue of Joumban and Mae Seang .

The Elephant Conservation Center  has welcomed them in their new home where they will spend the rest of their lives, and even might be released into the Nam Pouy Protected Area if they manage to bond with other elephants.

The Elephant Conservation Center and its partner NGO "Des Eléphants et Des Hommes" (France) need your help to secure the funding needed for their quarantine, food, medicine and the wages of the mahouts who will be in charge of them.

Veterinary check mission: 800 €
Administration (transportation documents / Elephants ID cards / Ownership certificates): 1 200 €
Quarantine & Vet care (4 weeks): 250 €
Mahouts salaries (2 years x 2 mahouts): 11 300 €
Mahouts Insurance (2 years x 2 mahouts): 700 €
Mahouts food & accommodation (2 years): 7 200 €
Elephant Food (supplements - 2 years): 550 €
Elephant Medicine (2 years): 850 €
TOTAL: 22 850 €

This is a unique opportunity to show your support to these abused Asian elephants and voice your concerns for the adamant conditions under which elephants are being kept in such places.


We will formally raise our concern to the Lao authorities about the ongoing trafficking of live Asian elephants taking place in Boten. But for now, we need to secure the future of these two.

Thank you so much for your help.


You were waiting for it, here it is!


An update on Joumban and Mae Seang.

After arriving by truck, Joumban and Mae Seang took their first steps at ECC in state of complete peace of mind. The transition from the old mahouts to the new ones from Thongmixay went well and they were quickly accepted by the two elephants. At the beginning, Mae Seang was somewhat difficult to manage. As for Joumban, he was extremely calm. Shortly afterwards, Joumban was in musth for a few weeks.
After ultrasound checks and the first progesterone results, the ECC team decided to include Mae Seang in the breeding programme. The results showed no anomalies in her uterous and ovaries. The preliminary progesterone results seem to indicate that she could be a potential candidate for our breeding programme.⁠
Joumban is currently patrolling the borders of our center, in the Nam Tien Protected Area. He will also be part of a social programme with males and other females.
So far, we are really happy about the progress they have made since they’ve been with us.
Keep following us to receive updates on these two elephants. 



Do you want to read the full story ? This article was written by Paul Kvinta -
Outside magazine 
Click on the link below :

We will update you about the situation of these two elephants as soon as possible. For the moment, they enjoy the forest and its quietness.

Thank you again,


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Fundraising team: Lao Elephant Conservation Center (5)

Sebastien Duffillot 
Raised €431 from 8 donations
Marseille 01 (Bouches-du-Rhône), France
Céline Gibert 
Team member
Raised €4,010 from 9 donations
Morgane Rieusset 
Team member
Raised €1,200 from 1 donation
Chrisantha Pinto 
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Tom Mahiet-Ribeyrol 
Team member
This team raised €12,001 from 111 other donations.
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