Nam Et Phou Louey, Lao PDR

Nam Et Phou Louey, Lao PDR Photo
©Eleanor Briggs

This landscape, the heart of which is a national protected area, is an important site for the conservation of tigers, leopards, and their prey in Southeast Asia. A WCS camera trap survey done in collaboration with the Department of Forestry of the Government of Laos uncovered a surprising variety of mammals in one of the country's last remaining wild areas. In addition to tigers and leopards, the survey recorded images of clouded leopards, marbled cats, Asiatic golden cats, hog badgers, and a host of other species in Nam Et-Phou Louey.

Fast Facts

  • The Nam Et-Phou Louey landscape covers more than 11,500 square miles of mixed deciduous, dry evergreen, and upper montane forests.
  • A total of 20 carnivore species have been recorded in the Nam Et-Phou Louey landscape, one of the highest numbers ever surveyed there. 
  • Nam Et-Phou Louey is the major stronghold for the northern white-cheeked crested gibbon, a critically endangered primate found only in Vietnam and Laos.


The major threats to biodiversity in this landscape are clearance of forests and hunting. Forests are logged for shifting cultivation or burned to promote new growth for grazing livestock. Hunting for subsistence, to supply the wildlife trade, and to protect crops (in particular, farmers target wild pigs) also poses a threat. Illegal trade of tiger prey—wild deer, pigs, and cattle—and of tigers for their skin or bones for medicine is a danger to the big cats’ survival in Laos.

WCS Responds

WCS scientists estimate that at least 15 tigers remain in this landscape, and that there is good habitat with the potential for supporting 25 to 50 breeding females in the core area of 1,200 square miles. We are working with the national and regional governments to curtail the illegal flow of wildlife, particularly tigers and their prey, to neighboring Vietnam. Lao government officials are stepping up enforcement efforts to end the use of trip wire explosives to kill prey species in the protected area. We are also working with local communities to reduce the ecological impact of grazing livestock on tiger turf.

From the Newsroom

Wild Tiger Report CardFebruary 17, 2010

As the world celebrates the Year of the Tiger, WCS assesses tiger habitat and populations across eight priority landscapes in Asia with a color-coded report.

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