The Nakai-Nam Theun National Park (NNT NP), located in the Annamite mountains of Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Laos PDR), is home to many threatened wildlife including the critically endangered Red-shanked Douc, White-cheeked Gibbon and Saola.
However, like much of the biodiversity in Southeast Asia, these species face an increasing risk of extinction, brought on by illegal hunting for international trade and local consumption.
Complicating matters is the forest’s shared 160km border with Vietnam, which increases pressure on its wildlife due to illegal international poaching for traditional medicine use.
Association Anoulak is a locally based conservation group that is dedicated to the long-term conservation and study of wildlife in Laos PDR. Since 2015, Mandai Nature has supported their efforts to ensure the continuity of conservation work such as large-scale wildlife monitoring of several species endemic to the Annamite Mountains like the Critically Endangered Large-antlered Muntjac and the Endangered Owston's Civet. Results from these surveys and monitoring with ground camera-traps has helped the team better plan conservation approaches and guide management. Association Anoulak is in addition leading species-specific research projects on species like the White-cheeked Gibbon, Asian Elephant, and otters that will inform their protection locally and regionally.
Association Anoulak has also supported anti-poaching patrol efforts in NNT NP. Managed by national park staff, six patrol teams comprised of trained local community members cover over 10,000km each year, removing and destroying traps and snares as well as reporting to the relevant management authorities. This helps to mitigate threats and enforce the laws protecting the forests and wildlife.
Beyond field efforts, the team also works with communities to integrate environment and education, improving capacity building and enabling them to be stewards of local biodiversity.
Association Anoulak has also been supporting the local communities in implementing innovative and sustainable approaches to bring in alternative incomes and preserve local traditional craftsmanship and cultural integrity.