Protecting Nam Et-Phou Louey’s rich biodiversity is a full-time task. There are five departments dedicated to conserving the area’s wildlife and forests: enforcement, conservation outreach, monitoring and research, land-use management, and ecotourism.
The enforcement team is responsible for patrolling the protected area and its boundaries in order to stop and prevent illegal hunting, buying or selling of wildlife, logging, plant collection, and other illegal activities. There are a total of nine substations situated at key locations around the protected area, each staffed with six to eight rangers. There are two mobile units that patrol the markets and towns and respond to tip-offs from the hotline.
The conservation outreach team is dedicated to local people’s participation in the management of the Nam Et-Phou Louey National Protected Area. The team disseminates information about the globally important ecosystem of the Nam Et-Phou Louey while communicating rules and regulations governing the protected area through fun and exciting participatory methodologies such as social marketing.
The team also assists village communities and local authorities to negotiate and demarcate village-use areas within the protected area through a participatory approach to maintain traditional agriculture without negatively impacting the wild habitat.
Monitoring and Research
The monitoring and research unit is responsible for monitoring the health of the ecosystem and populations of key species, including tigers and other endangered animals, and researching a range of issues including human-wildlife conflict. Camera trapping is done regularly to estimate the numbers and distribution of rare and endangered mammals.
Land-use management involves helping villagers to effectively manage their resources in order to increase production from agriculture and livestock and to reduce wildlife conflicts and forest degradation. Livestock depredation (attacks on domestic animals by wild predators such as tigers and leopards) is one of the most pressing issues at Nam Et-Phou Louey.
The Nam Nern Night Safari provides positive benefits to local people, in addition to the natural services (water, forests and wildlife) provided by Nam Et-Phou Louey. Benefits from ecotourism are linked directly to conservation through a village-development fund and sightings of wildlife by visitors.