Nam Et – Phou Louey National Protected Area (NEPL NPA) is an important habitat for many wild species endemic to Indochina.

Key Species

There are five key species at NEPL, each representing the overall health of the ecosystem.

Tiger (Panthera tigris)


Details:NEPL harbors one of the most important tiger populations in Indochina. It is estimated that there are 7 – 23 tigers in the area. Tigers represent the overall health of the ecosystem, as only the most healthy ecosystem can support enough prey (deer, gaur, wild pigs and others) to support this large carnivore.

Gaur (Bos gaurus)


Details:This large herbivore is the tiger’s preferred prey and is declining rapidly due to poaching its gall bladder, which is sold on the black market at a high price. Gaur forage on grasses and, thus, represent the overall health of NEPL’s important grassland habitat.

White-Cheeked Crested Gibbon (Nomascus Leucogenys)


Details:NEPL has the largest population of white-cheeked crested gibbon, which is found only in Vietnam and Laos. Gibbons require large areas of primary forest with thick canopies to swing from and bamboo to feed on, thus their presence indicates healthy primary forests.

Sambar Deer (Cervus Unicolor)


Details:Sambar deer are very rare in Laos and are one of the tiger’s main prey. They prefer mixed deciduous forests, the predominant habitat of NEPL.


Details:There are three species of otters found in NEPL, oriental small-clawed otter (Aonyx cinerea, status: vulnerable), smooth-coated otter (Lutrogale perspicillata), and Eurasian otter (Lutra lutra). The presence of otters represents the health of aquatic ecosystems, which are irreplaceable support systems both wildlife and people.

Other Mammals

Nam Et-Phou Louey displays an outstanding diversity of carnivores, that includes six cat species (tigers, leopard, clouded leopard, Asian golden cat, marbled cat and leopard cat), dhole (status: vulnerable), two species of bear (Asian black bear and sun bear, status: vulnerable), and 11 small carnivores including civets, mustelids, and mongoose. A small elephant population persists along the Nam Et River. In 1998, over 40 species of bats were recorded at NEPL, of which three were new to Laos. Want to see a fuller list of all the species? Click here. 

Reptiles and Amphibians (Herpetofauna)

Among the wildlife of Laos, relatively little is known about the reptile and amphibian diversity. The first survey of the herpetofauna in the NEPL NPA was undertaken in 1998 (Stuart 1998). A field survey coupled with interviews resulted in a preliminary list of 30 species that included six species of turtles, two species of pythons, several species of frogs, toads, lizards that included two species of monitor lizards, typical snakes, vipers, and an elapid snake (krait). Of the known herpetofauna in the NPA, it is notable that most of the turtles are listed as IUCN endangered (EN), vulnerable (VU) or data deficient (DD), including the Southeast Asian softshell turtle Amyda cartilaginia (VU), the big-headed turtle Platysternon megacephalum (EN), the four-eyed turtle Sacalia quadriocellata (EN), and the impressed tortoise Manouria impressa (VU) (IUCN 2009). Want to see a fuller list of all the species? Click here. 

Birds (Avifauna)

Preliminary surveys of the avifauna in the NPA were first undertaken in 1998 (Davidson 1998) and resulted in a list of 299 species. Of these, three species are listed as endangered or near threatened (NT), including rufous-necked hornbill Aceros nipalensis (VU), the beautiful nuthatch Sitta formosa (VU) and Blyth’s kingfisher (NT) (IUCN 2009). Phou Louey mountain is identified as especially important as it contains a distinctive montane bird community with ten species that are known from only one or two other localities in Laos. Want to see a fuller list of all the species? Click here. 

The pictures below were all taken with heat motion sensitive cameras called “camera traps”. For more images and info, see our trap photo exhibition.