As I have now settled in the Philippines, I used some downtime during the rainy season to visit one of our partners: the Lao Conservation Trust for Wildlife. Based about 60km away from Vientiane, the LCTW is a non-profit organization which is taking over the land of the Lao Zoo and transforming the old (and unique) zoo site into a non-profit rescue and conservation center for native wildlife. We had already worked with LCTW several times as they took part in the study of genetics and morphology of the binturong, and we had sent them some veterinary equipment. By the way, this time I brought in my backpack a baby scale and some new medical supplies, from Palawan.
Despite a somewhat chaotic arrival in Lao PDR, I reached the center in the afternoon of Monday, 29th October. Eve and George, directors of LCTW, greeted me at the entrance of the center. During the guided tour, I discovered that in addition to running the rescue center, Eve and George are willing to take part in numerous studies, particularly those focusing on genetics, and wish to be involved as much as possible in local conservation and wildlife reintroduction projects. They show unfailing motivation which reveals how passionate they are about animals and the environment. They also contributed significantly to the improvement of husbandry and welfare for the animals of the center by changing a lot their housing facilities. Of course binturongs are part of the lucky residents: they were granted two brand new enclosures with enormous trees which are perfect to climb and avoid visitors. Even as a good observer, I managed to see them only three times during the few days I spent at the LCTW. I spent my days with the two veterinarians, Marta and Gareth, who shared their daily life with me and then I had to leave, regretfully, this beautiful place, four days after my arrival.
I really want to thank the whole team at LCTW, for their warm welcome during those four days, and especially Eve and George who shared a bit of their exciting adventure with me. I just wish to add that the LCTW is still looking for donations, particularly for medical supplies. If you think you are able to help, don’t hesitate to contact them.
Agathe, scientific officer of ABConservation