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  9. A 600km march of elephants

November & December 2015

A team of 12 elephants will walk about 630 km across the Xayaboury and Luang Prabang provinces, passing through elephant populated areas and cultural sites and disseminating both environmental education material and art performances in towns and villages. In Luang Prabang 8 more elephants will join the caravan for a unique procession in the World Heritage city.

It is important that the elephant is seen in a positive light to support conservation work. Elephants are a source of pride for the Lao people and it is urgent to reactivate the public support for the species.

En route, the caravan will stop daily in villages it crosses. Theater, music and performances will be offered to the public on the subject of the elephant, ambassador of biodiversity and cultural diversity. Because the elephant is both a species ‘keystone’ in ecosystems and revered emblem of a people, a nation Laos.

The aim of the caravan is to be a living, walking message. The elephants and their mahouts are making this journey to meet the people of Laos to say : ‘Don’t forget us. We are your natural and your cultural heritage, and we need your help.’

The caravan will give people the chance to get up close with the elephants and take part in performances and educational activities.

It will revive popular and government support for the elephants which have played such an important role in Laos culture, but now exist on the brink of extinction. This caravan will be a game changer for elephants in Laos.

We will highlight the urgent need to protect the habitat. If we save the elephant’s territory, we help all the other species too. And we can take elephants out of the cruelty and destruction of logging and into a better life.

If we save the domestic elephants we will secure a population that can potentially breed with wild elephants and increase their numbers in the future. For that we need the right people to take care of them – mahouts. This caravan will encourage young people to learn the skills of the older mahouts before their wisdom is gone forever. With their knowledge and wider action to protect the forest we can save the elephant in Laos and prevent the loss of one of the world’s great treasures.

We invite you to join the elephants on this journey towards hope and support us in safeguarding their future.

  • 630 km
  • 53 days walking
  • Average distance of 19km/day
  • 46 villages crossed
  • 12 elephants from Xayabury province
  • 8 additional elephants joining in Luang Prabang city
  • A team of 66 people


The Elephant Conservation Center
It is the only elephant hospital and nursery in Laos. It is committed to ensuring the health, wellbeing and perpetuation of endangered elephant populations. Sebastien Duffillot is the co-founder of ElefantAsia, the Elephant Conservation Centre and the Elephant Festival in Laos and Regional Programme Manager for Southeast Asia for “Des Eléphants et des Hommes.” In 2002, Sebastien travelled 1.300 km with 4 elephants from Champassak to Luang Prabang in Laos’s first ever Elephant Caravan.
Community Learning International and “Des Elephants et des Hommes” will work together to develop and deliver the educational component of the caravan. The arrival of the caravan in villages in Xayaboury and Luang Prabang provinces represents an opportunity to send an educational message to young people and their parents. Thus, at each step, our team will conduct outreach activities in the community and provide illustrated books to school children.

Media representatives
They will accompany the caravan. The adventure of the caravan and the Luang Prabang celebrations will lead to the production of a TV documentary, highlighting the amazing journey, the spectacular celebration and the important need for elephant conservation in Laos. One film crew will accompany the caravan in its entirety while other international TV crews will join the celebrations in Luang Prabang. A professional team of photographers, illustrators and writers will recount the epic journey of the elephant caravan, bringing the elephant’s call to action to an international audience. The publicity leading up to the celebration in Luang Prabang and depicting the performances will highlight the location’s role as an important and exciting tourist destination in the region.

The Luang Prabang celebrations will be held under the High Patronage of:

  • HE the Prime Minister
  • The Ministry of Education and Sports
  • The Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism
  • The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment
  • The Department of Interior Security
  • The Department of Defense
  • The Governor of Luang Prabang Province
  • The Governor of Xayaboury Province
  • The Director General of UNESCO (World Heritage)

Patrick and Margot Auzier
They are creative and innovative ‘masters of fire’; specialists of monumental fire installations. The scenography and unique poetry of their shows - often described as ‘fire operas’ - convey a profound vision of the chosen natural landscape, giving a new life to urban and rural areas, fascinating the public and sublimating the environment. Their show will be presented along main city’s avenues and rivers to celebrate the cultural riches and the beauty of Luang Prabang World Heritage City.

Khao Niew theatre group
It was established in Vientiane in 2008, and is directed by Lattanakone Insisiengmay. The company has staged five plays since its creation: Broken Dream (2010), What! (2011), Lao Pinocchio (2012), Metamorfoz (2011) and Music Elephant (2012). Over the years, Khao Niew’s group has broadened its horizons by working on collaborative cultural and art programmes with both local and international artists including: Kabong Lao puppet theatre (Lao PDR), Turak Théâtre/Michel Laubu (France), Phare Ponleu Selpak (Cambodia), Jeobong Co. (Japan & Laos) and Teatr Piba (France). Khao Niew is an active member of the PETA-Mekong Partnership Programme (ASEAN partnership and support programme for the performing arts community within the Greater Mekong Subregion).
Khao Niew will invite international performers and musicians to join them for the production of an exclusive artistic creation during the Elephant Caravan.

Exhibitions of Visual Arts.
Various artists will contribute to the celebrations in Luang Prabang under the direction of Agnès Rosse. Contemporary artist Bibi will produce a monumental backlit elephant sculpture. Visual Artist Lionel Lauret will project still & animated images of elephants through the ages on Luang Prabang’s landmark buildings.
Agnès and Caroline Rosse will show a retrospective exhibition of their elephant encounters in Laos since 2001 (Elephant Caravan 2002, Elephant Festivals 2008, 2010, 2012, Elephant Conservation Centre, 2012).
Yves Bernard and his Tuktuk Cinema will project the film ‘Chang’ (1927) on a giant outdoors screen on the banks of the Mekong river and set to music by the
Champassak Shadow Theatre Orchestra. Together, with their drawings, texts, floral, vegetal and glowing creations, they will create a unique poetic route across the city.

Event calendar
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June 2024 | August 2024

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