U.S. Ambassador to Laos Karen Stewart and the Vice Governor of Hua Panh Province pose with friends and guides at the completion of their March 28 journey into the Nam Et Phu Luey National Protected Area, the last tiger breeding ground in Indochina.
The ceremony was also attended by Mr. Khamhoung Heuangvongsy, Governor of Houaphanh Province, Mr. Phomma Khammanichanh, Director General of Europe and Americas Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the District Governor, as well as all the head men from 20 villages located inside the protected area. The ceremony took place at Somboun Ked Sone Primary School, a short distance from the substation.
In her remarks, Ambassador Stewart said that the U.S. was committed to helping the Lao Government protect Laos’ natural habitats and bio-diversity.
“This substation and the others supported by this grant are examples of U.S. commitment to help the Lao Government protect natural resources for the Lao people,” Ambassador Stewart said.
Since 2002, the United States Government has contributed more than $500,000 to support conservation outreach, ecotourism, law enforcement and wildlife monitoring in the Nam Et Phu Louey NPA. The forest substation was one of four new substations constructed last year by the Wildlife Conservation Society using funding provided by the U.S. Embassy.
Two substations were built in Nam Kading NPA and two in Nam Et Phu Loey NPA. A team of 6 Rangers is based at each substation to conduct roving patrols through the forest and prevent illegal poaching of endangered species.
The Nam Et Phu Louey NPA is famous for harboring the only tiger breeding population still remaining in Indochina. Ambassador Stewart noted that this tiger population is “an irreplaceable resource for bio-diversity and ecotourism. I do hope that any plans for road improvement or other activities through the protected area will protect the core zone and minimize negative impact on wildlife.”