In collaboration with the Laos Department of Forestry, construction of the Tat Kuang Si Bear Rescue Centre in Luang Prabang began in 2003. In 2009 the second bear house was constructed at Tat Kuang Si.
In 2013, the world's first ever neurosurgery on a bear relieved our beautiful moon bear ChamPa of the pain associated with her hydrocephalic condition. 2014 saw completion of a Bear Discovery Trail to educate the 200,000+ tourists who pass the Bear Rescue Centre on their way to visit the famous Kuang Si waterfall.
Our original sanctuary at Tat Kuang Si was designed to house 25 bears. After a spate of bear rescues it became clear that we'd need to expand and in 2017 we opened the Luang Prabang Wildlife Sanctuary, providing plenty of space to build additional rescue facilities moving forward.
We opened the first bear house at Luang Prabang Wildlife Sanctuary in 2017, as well as facilities for other rescued and endangered wildlife including macaques, leopard cats, tortoises, birds and civet cats.
With 10 bear rescues in Laos in 2017 and an additional 5 already this year (more than 50 rescued bears in Laos), we're building bear houses as quick as we can. 2018 has already seen an unusual rescue of red pandas, intercepted after being smuggled from China. Construction of a new cub nursery, a quarantine house and a new bear house & enclosure are already underway.
Given the lack of facilities available for endangered & trafficked wildlife, Luang Prabang Wildlife Sanctuary will need to continue to expand its facilities. 2019 will require construction of an additional 2 bear houses, a wildlife hospital, a carnivore enclosure and a holding house for pangolins and reptiles, prior to release.
We're also providing valuable training, employment opportunities and alternative livelihoods to local villagers, who will become Lao's future wildlife warriors.