The Lao Elephant Initiative (LEI) was founded in January 2018 as a nonprofit, nonreligious, nonpolitical organization. Recognized as a State and Federal tax-exempt, publicly supported 501(c)(3) charitable organization, LEI maintains an office in Denver, CO, and currently supports elephant conservation projects in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic. 

We are working to ignite positive change for wild and captive Asian elephants.


The mission of Lao Elephant Initiative (LEI) is to promote the wellbeing of both captive and wild Asian elephants through education, community partnerships, and innovative conservation strategies.  




Our work involves a range of conservation and environmental initiatives, including our captive elephant welfare project, and our long-term intent to support wild elephant populations in a National Biodiversity Conservation Area (NBCA). LEI conducts projects and programs internally and also provides grants to organizations that are doing work compatible with our mission.


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LEI is focused on raising public awareness of the plight of elephants in Laos,  working to build a new common understanding of what constitutes ethical and humane treatment and helping make this the new reality.

Learn about LEI's efforts to improve conditions for elephants in Laos.

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Once known as the ancient Kingdom of Lan Xang, or “Land of the Million Elephants” Lao’s elephant population has plummeted to dangerously low levels. Current estimates indicate that fewer than 800 (wild and captive) now live in the country.  

LEI believes every elephant that can live in the wild should live wild. It is their birthright and best suits their fundamental nature. Our work on wild elephants, which will, over the course of the next several years unfold in stages, focuses on providing financial and staff support to an organization and their partners who are working actively in this area.  Specifically, our goals are to: 

  • Support population growth of wild elephants living in one or more of Lao’s 23 National Biodiversity Conservation Areas (NBCAs) and strengthen genetic diversity within herds

  • Address the issue of human-elephant conflict by engaging communities bordering the NBCA/s, establishing park patrol teams, and beta testing new methods of mitigating contact between humans and wild elephants

  • Document data-driven outcomes and expand monitoring capacity

  • Work in collaboration with experts, who have had significant success in rewilding elephants, and

  • Showcase the economic and cultural value of protecting elephants within Lao and the international conservation community.

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As a result of the crisis caused by COVID-19, the closing of borders and thus the lack of tourists and income, some elephant camps in and around Luang Prabang are struggling to feed and care for their elephants.


Learn about how LEI is helping "Feed the Elephant's" during these difficult times.




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To make an online donation, follow the link below and fill out our donation form. Donate by credit or debit card via secure PayPal checkout.  

Fee Structure for Restricted Donations, Grants and Gifts

Donations, grants and gifts in excess of $250 that are designated by the donor as restricted for a specific purpose may be subject to appropriate organizational withholds.

Based on the complexity and longevity of specific donor requests in between seven and a half percent (7.5%) and twelve and a half percent (12.5%) of the donation, grant or gift will be directed to support current LEI elephant-centric activities and two and a half percent (2.5%) will be set aside for the administration of the donation.


Such fees shall be capped on donations, grants and gifts in excess of $100,000. 



If you would like to donate by check, please make it payable to Lao Elephant Initiative

Send donations to:

Lao Elephant Initiative 
P.O. Box 612
Indian Hills, Colorado 80454


Please note that if you have a specific project to which you'd like to direct or restrict your donation, we ask you to indicate this in the memo section. If your donation is to be directed to MandaLao Elephant Conservation, please clearly note that, as well.


If you intend to send a check each month as a recurring donation, please include a note letting us know when to expect it.

We value the safety and security of our donors. For this reason, we advise that you do not send credit card information through the mail.


We regret that we are unable to accept cash donations at this time.