Changes in elephant ownership and employment in the Lao PDR: implications for the elephant-based logging and tourism industries

Suter, Ingrid C., Hockings, Marc and Baxter, Greg S. (2013) Changes in elephant ownership and employment in the Lao PDR: implications for the elephant-based logging and tourism industries. Human Dimensions of Wildlife, 18 4: 279-291. doi:10.1080/10871209.2013.788235


Author Suter, Ingrid C.
Hockings, Marc
Baxter, Greg S.
Title Changes in elephant ownership and employment in the Lao PDR: implications for the elephant-based logging and tourism industries
Journal name Human Dimensions of Wildlife   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1087-1209
1533-158X
Publication date 2013-07-12
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1080/10871209.2013.788235
Volume 18
Issue 4
Start page 279
End page 291
Total pages 13
Place of publication Philadelphia, PA, United States
Publisher Taylor & Francis
Collection year 2014
Language eng
Abstract Communities in the Lao People's Democratic Republic (PDR) have been utilizing captive Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) for centuries. The elephant handler (mahout) profession has remained fundamentally unchanged. Captive elephants, however, are no longer necessary in roles where they were once considered vital, particularly the logging industry. To gauge mahout demographics and assess problems associated with elephant industries, we surveyed 133 mahouts in the Lao PDR. We found that mahoutship is an aging industry with a vanishing family association. Contrasts between logging and tourism mahouts were apparent when observing family tradition, finances, and industry-related experiences. Logging mahouts rely on tourism to provide them with future employment; however, tourism cannot currently employ elephants on a scale similar to that of logging operations. The need for the traditional mahout and a large population of captive elephants may have reached its finality in Laos.
Keyword Asian elephant
Elephas maximus
Lao PDR
Mahouts
Tourism
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management Publications
Official 2014 Collection
 
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Created: Fri, 30 Aug 2013, 07:58:24 EST by Prof Marc Hockings on behalf of School of Geography, Planning & Env Management