Inside Asia Tours: Vietnam, Cambodia & Laos

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Tuesday, 8th December 2015

5 things to remember around Laotian wild animals

Laos is a spellbinding area of the world that is full of delightful scenery, a variety of different cultures and some of the most unique animals on the planet. 

The country has received more attention in recent years after the discovery of a number of new species, making it a favourite location for animal lovers across the world. Laos is home to more than one hundred species of large mammals, along with over 165 species of amphibians and reptiles. Asian elephants, saolas, tigers and gibbons are just some of the beautiful animals that roam Laos. 

However, while the ecology of the area makes it a highly appealing tourist destination, there are many dangers that come with exploring animal habitats. Whenever you are stepping into the wild, you are moving out of your comfort zone and into danger yet, far too often, travellers treat the wild like a zoo. 

To keep yourself and animals safe, here are five key tips:

1. Keep your distance 

Animals are best admired from a distance. Even when getting up close seems feasible, it is important to remember that creatures in the wild act unpredictably and erratically. Even the friendliest of animals are prone to lashing out, so keep away to stay safe. 

It is best advised to stand around 23 metres away from large animals and make sure that you do not walk into their territory. For Laotian predators such as tigers and primates, keep around 100 metres away and make sure shelter is nearby. 

2. Do not feed them 

We’re all used to feeding pigeons in England, so why not feed some of the more exotic species in Laos? Well, there are plenty of reasons! 

Firstly, animals here are used to hunting for food and eat in regular cycles. Many species can go days without eating anything so, while you believe you’re giving them a lovely treat, it can actually make them hungrier in the long run. 

As well as this, you can never be sure that you are giving them the right food. Animals in the wild are used to eating raw meat, so there is a chance that chemically-altered foods could make them ill. 

3. Be wary of your surroundings

It is easy to be taken aback when you see a unique animal in the distance, but don't become too excited and start wandering into an unknown area. Laos has a range of forests that can be extremely dangerous for travellers. 70 per cent of the country is made up of forest land, making it easy for curious travellers to get lost in their glorious surroundings. 

To keep yourself and the animals safe, make sure you are always aware of your location and that you are near to fellow travellers. 

4. Don’t use a flash!

Animals can be easily disgruntled by the flash of a camera, so make sure you take flash-free photographs throughout your time in Laos. This is especially the case with groups of predators, who can react aggressively and see the flash as a threat. 

Although you will want to make sure you take high-quality snaps, by not using flash you will be doing the animals a big favour and improving your overall safety. 

5. Don’t litter 

Laotian animals, especially primates, will be eager to pick up any leftovers. Whether you drop food or waste, curious monkeys will come and give it a taste. While you may forget about dropping a bottle lid, a primate could accidentally eat it and choke. 

Make sure you keep all of your food secured and place all litter in closed bins. This way, you can make sure you don’t jeopardise the health of local wildlife and do your bit for the beautiful Laotian environment.

Related news stories:
Why has Laotian food not been widely exported to the rest of the world? (2nd April 2015)