Mekong the northern mountains are also full of secrets the ARCA people live along the Chinese border many of their.
Villages can only be reached by foot journeys often lasting several days through thick mountain forests hunters like so enyo are familiar with plants and animals no white man has ever seen he still uses the traditional Chinese crossbow firearms are prohibited the hunters set up for the.
Woods to try their luck unlike many lotions the akka are not Buddhist for them a hunt is also a visit to the realms of spirits where rocks and plants are animated beings each anchor village.
Has a spirit swing it’s the gate to a mystic.
Cosmos it’s built in honor of.
The dead and must never be touched the Aqua came here from southern China.
In contrast to the land of their origin their villages in Laos still have a traditional look no tin roofs no electricity no plumbing the women’s decorative headgear is.
A highly visible symbol of the acha culture the akka women are expert in needlework and weaving they dye the fabric.
For their clothes with indigo even though the men are hunters and trappers the akka are mainly farmers they clear the steep forests lips with fire and they plant dry rice and vegetables the hunters have long disappeared into the.
Jungle when the women set out on their way to the market selling a few vegetables is the.
Income the main market in the north is right on the Chinese border in Moo and Singh the market punctuates the region’s.
Cultural complexity of nationalities tribes and languages the south is populated.
By Thai and Khmer the north by peoples from Tibet Burma and China Laos boasts more than 60 officially recognized ethnic minorities the north is dangerous ground the Golden Triangle is closed clandestine poppy farming drug trafficking and smuggling of goods of all kinds are challenges to the government even the wilderness is beset by.
Serious problems poaching and illegal trade with exotic animals are a threat to the tiger population and other rare jungle species this is why the government supports the work of Arlene Johnson and her team wilderness research in Laos is a tedious adventure we have a cursory list.
Of animals that are existing here and which is probably fairly accurate with you know a few other species that can be added to that list but as far as.
The ecology and the distribution of the majority of these species I would say.
We’re just in the early stages of understanding that none of the researchers have ever seen a tiger eye to eye yet they have little doubt that the big cats are nearby in an abandoned batch of banana trees they set up camp for the night hot water with forest herbs and rice is the usual dinner the majority of the expedition team are Larson’s the assistants and porters are excellent jungle Scouts who.
Can read animal tracks at night the temperature sinks to five degrees centigrade the light declared Porter’s.
Shiver while playing cards the area to be investigated is set out in squares the camera positions are carefully.
Defined but the Loess protected area spreads across three and a half thousand square kilometers looking for Tigers in this rugged mountain scape seems hopeless shielded by mountain ranges and forgotten by the world Laos has preserved wild landscapes hardly found elsewhere in Southeast Asia traditional culture too has miraculously survived the region’s violent history in spite of its ethnic diversity Laos has been a predominantly Buddhist country for more than seven centuries on the Mekong there is a city that seems to consist.
Of nothing but temples Luang Prabang once capital and royal residence is now a world cultural heritage site and the country’s religious center colonial architecture the only remaining heritage of sixty years of French rule inhabited living and crumbling architecture is everywhere the orange worn by the Buddhist monks sets the visual tone of.
This city every day just before sunrise the monks come out to receive arms rice vegetables and sweets monks.
Are prohibited from worldly labor they take their.
Arms without any expression of gratitude.
Their temples even the oldest temples are wide open.
The life of the city they serve as meeting places passages and playgrounds water snakes so called Nagas guard the roofs.
Everywhere there are animal images symbolic protectors and sources of strength in Laos one animal is worshipped above all others the elephant in the era of its glory Laos was called LAN Xang realm of a million elephants a three-headed elephant was the Royal coat of arms today the.
Number of elephants in Laos is nowhere close to a million nowadays even working elephants are only found in remote provinces they are still used in terrain unfit for tractors and lorries there is a lotion speciality in dealing with elephants whilst in the rest of Asia elephant guides use a sharp metal hook that inflicts pain lotions direct their animals only with a gentle voice nothing is more endearing than a well-trained working elephant but their wild cousins are very different in contrast to their African relatives Asian elephants generally do not live on open grassland.
But in dense jungle we never even noticed what the local Scout saw immediately a young elephant male in the immediate vicinity the elephant is only 20 meters away males will not tolerate strangers anywhere near our scouts opted for a quick retreat and it’s.
Soon obvious that this was the right decision there are a few places here that offer a wider view.
This forest clearing is a meeting place for elephants who are attracted by a natural salt deposit the animals dig up the ground to get vital mineral supplies the number of wild elephants in Laos is 500 by some estimates others believe that there are.
800 in any case Laos has the most important national elephant population in Indochina how could hundreds of elephants each.
One as big as a bus remain undiscovered and uncounted over decades one reason is that systemic field research has only just begun another that forest elephants in Asia are more difficult to observe than elephants on an African savannah if the akka hunters had ever wanted to know the precise number of elephants.