It is with great pleasure that I am writing this guest blog for the Little Fireface Project. My name is Camille Coudrat. I am the founder and director of the French-registered NGO Project Anoulak. ‘Anoulak’ means ‘conservation’ in the Lao language. You may have guessed then that LFP and Project Anoulak are sharing many common values, ethics and overall missions.
We, at Project Anoulak, are dedicated to the long-term conservation of the biodiversity in Laos. More precisely in Nakai-Nam Theun National Protected Area, in the central-eastern part of the country.
Laos, although little known or rarely heard of is extremely rich in biodiversity. The country is notably of prime importance for primate conservation, with 17 different species of primates (see here) including two species of lorises: the Bengal Slow Loris (Nycticebus bengalensis) and the Pygmy Loris (N. pygmaeus).
Much like in Java, loris species are facing high threat from illegal hunting in mainland Southeast Asia. They are hunted for use in the traditional medicine, for local consumption or for the pet trade. This is particularly so in Viet Nam and Cambodia, where lorises are commonly encountered in large numbers in local markets, dead or live. Laos also is known for its widespread culture of wildlife hunting and trade but lorises are not recorded as often as other more commonly hunted animals in the trade. For this reason, Laos is still likely a stronghold for loris species populations and must be one of the most important countries for their conservation. Yet, there has never been any loris-specific surveys in the country.
Project Anoulak acts at several levels:
Scientific research: Among other species, we are notably focussing our work on the gorgeous red-shanked douc Pygathrix nemaeus and the mesmerizing white-cheeked gibbon Nomascus siki, studying their behavioural ecology (and species distribution for gibbons) and we hope in the near future to add lorises to our study species!
Habitat Protection: We conduct field patrols with villagers trained and hired from the local community to protect the ecosystem against illegal activities in collaboration with the local authorities.
Conservation Education and Community Outreach: We conduct school-based conservation education activities in villages within NNT NPA to inform, engage and empower local communities in ecosystem protection and in particular the next generation and produce exclusive education resources which are lacking throughout the country.
Capacity Building: We involve young Lao nationals in all our activities. All our permanent staff is Lao (apart from myself!). We also engage and train local villagers in all aspects of our activities. We are training the next generation of biologists and conservationists of the country!
Our ultimate mission is to develop and implement innovative, multidisciplinary and sustainable approaches to the long-term conservation and study of the biodiversity and ecosystems in Nakai-Nam Theun National Protected Area, with a skilled, passionate and dedicated team of nationals and internationals.
- Camille Coudrat – Founder and director of the French-registered NGO Project Anoulak
To learn more:
Facebook page: www.facebook.com/projectanoulak
Youtube Channel: www.youtube.com/c/Conservationlaos