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Saving Lao Elephants Through Music and Education

The future of Laos’ elephants lies in the hands and minds of children. In order for them to learn more about them, this year, the Lao Elephant Initiative (LEI) developed “Elephant Tails” classes for youth. Since June, four Lao expert elephant guides from MandaLao Elephant Conservation in Luang Prabang have been teaching these classes to youth in schools throughout the area. Classes focus on facts about elephants, what constitutes their humane care and treatment, and how historically important they are to Lao people.

So far, nearly 2,500 children of primary, secondary and high school age, in 120 different classrooms and 30 different schools, have had the opportunity to participate in these classes, which are offered at no cost to interested schools. The classes, which are interactive and super fun, are approximately 20 minutes in length, and include a wonderful new animated film for Lao children, called “Bobo the Surfing Elephant.” Developed by journalist and conservationist, Melody Kemp and her team, and sponsored in part by LEI, Bobo shows the way elephants contribute to the environment and showcases the nature of their strong family and herd relationships.

“We have sponsored these classes to help children learn more about elephants” said Caz Matthews, chairperson, LEI. “We want children to learn about elephants that live in the wild and captive elephants that are taken care of and owned by people. And most importantly, we want children to learn what is the best and kindest way to take care of these special animals.”

Classes are wrapped up with the guides/teachers sharing and singing a very special new song with the children. Called “Anouluck Xang,” or “Save Our Elephants,” it was written by Mr. Noy Dedlakhone, an elephant guide, and talented songwriter and singer. It is sung by Mr. Noy and four other elephant guides ນ ພິດສະໄຫມ ກິລິວົງ, ທ. ບຸນທັນ ແສງສະຫວ່າງ, ທ້າວເຢັ່ງ ທໍ່ and ທ້າວ ດາວເພັດ ດວງພະຈັນ.

“Anouluck Xang” was produced by Sam Intharaphithak, who has produced songs for many noted singers in Laos, and was sponsored by the LEI in partnership with the World Wildlife Fund- Laos (WWF). DiscoverHumanity has since put the song to a video featuring beautiful clips of elephants, the singers and the school children. Links can be found below.

Mr. Dedlakhone says about the song, “Laos has been known as Lan Xang, the Land of a Million Elephants, since it was a remote, reclusive, ancient kingdom. Elephants are part of Lao peoples' blood, bones and essential beings - as important as roots are to trees. That’s what this song is about. The importance of elephants to our people.”

“Whether today or tomorrow,

Elephants are always our friend.

If there are no more elephants in our future, how can we live without them?

We want everyone to share one heart,

to save the elephants. Let elephants always be with Lao people

so our country will always be shining.”

Following is the song/video (Lao subtitles and English subtitles) and the song only.

“It is with the understanding and respect for the connection between Lao people and elephants, that LEI has supported the creation of Lao's first very own song for elephants,” says Sally Kweskin, Executive Director. “We hope people will sing “Anouluck Xang” with love and joy and that it deepens the promise to protect and save our elephants - . always and forever for the Lao people.”

Administrators interested in having these classes offered at their schools should email


The Lao Elephant Initiative is a nonprofit, nonreligious, nonpolitical organization founded in January 2018. LEI is working to promote the wellbeing of Asian elephants through education, community partnership, and innovative conservation strategies.

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