Save Boua

Her full name is Mae Boua Ngeun which means Miss Silver Lotus in Lao.

Why we must save Mae Boua Ngeun

Tamed elephants have always been used by humans for our benefit at the expense of their welfare and dignity. At the Elephant Conservation Center (ECC), we try to reverse this relationship, putting ourselves at the service of the elephants to ensure their wellbeing and their right to a decent life. Our goal is to help replenish the dwindling wild elephant population of Laos by reintroducing captive elephants into the wild, thus bringing new genes and hope to a population of no more than 350 individuals.

All elephants are precious, and Mae Boua Ngeun is no exception to this. She grew up at ECC. Having lived all her life with other elephants in her natural habitat, she is the perfect candidate for being released back into the wild. Our plan is to keep Mae Boua Ngeun at the ECC for another few years in order to allow her to have one or two calves and then release all of them into the wild where they belong.

The only way we can acheive this is to buy Mae Boua Ngeun from her owner. We have no choice. We cannot confiscate her as she is legally considered livestock and is the property of Mr Khone. We cannot expect Mr Khone to give her to the ECC because he needs the money to support his family. He doesn’t have any other means to raise the funds he needs. Mr Khone is not making a business in elephant trade, he just needs money for his family. However, if we can’t buy her, he will have no choice but to take her away from the ECC. He will sell her to the highest bidder on the market and Mae Boua Ngeun could end up just about anywhere.

We can’t afford to lose Mae Boua Ngeun. It would be horribly traumatic for her as an individual to be taken away and probably end up as a performing slave in the tourism industry, and it would certainly be a blow for conservation.

All we need to ensure Mae Boua Ngeun’s future is 75.000 EUR, it is like buying a fancy new car, but this is the life of a highly evolved and sensitive being we are talking about. She is worth more than all the cars in the world.

Buying her is the right thing to do, both for Mae Boua Ngeun and for elephant conservation, and we know that together we can raise the funds needed to save her. Every donation helps and will be critical to saving Mae Boua Ngeun from a life of misery and give her the a chance to be released into the wild and enjoy the freedom she deserves.

Together, let’s save Mae Boua Ngeun.

Mae Boua Ngeun


I am very happy to inform all of you that the fundraising campaign for Boua was a success. The transfer of USD 90,000 to the owner of Boua was done on 30 April 2024 and the transfer of ownership from Mr Khone to ECC was signed on 8 May 2024. In June, Boua should have her new identity card stating that she belongs to ECC.

Boua is blissfully unaware that her life was about change for the worst had we not made the effort to gather the funds necessary to ensure that she stays at ECC with her loved ones.

To all those who have donated for Boua, I want to thank you one more time for your generosity and your trust. We can all be very happy for Boua. We all played a part in saving her from a life of servitude. Of course, the whole system is wrong, we should not be needing to buy an elephant in order to save her from exploitation, but in a country where an elephant has the same status as a cow or a horse, there is nothing else we can do. We can’t change the legislation of Laos, nor can we let all the domestic elephants end up in the tourism industry just because we disagree with the system. We have no choice but to buy the elephants we want to save, and we have no choice but to pay the market price, however high it may seem.

I’m happy that Boua will never have to carry tourists on her back, perform tricks in front of crowds or pull heavy logs in the forest. I’m happy she can continue living her peaceful life at ECC and I hope she will one day be a mother and successfully reintroduced back to the wild.

Again, a big thank you to all of you for your donations and for allowing this campaign to be successful.

Sun Bear Outreach (Aider les Ours in French) is a non profit charity based in France. Founded in 2015, it has spent the last 8 years improving the welfare of captive sun bears in Indonesia and is now expanding its activity to other species and other countries. Sun Bear Outreach is collaborating with ECC to create and manage this campaign to Save Boua. We are solely motivated by empathy and can guarantee that 100% of your donation will go towards saving Mae Boua Ngeun.

The Story of Boua (pour la version française, cliquer ici)
A message from Anabel Lopez Perez – Head of Research and Education at ECC
A message from Mr Khone – Owner of Mae Boua Ngeun

Learn more about The Elephant Conservation Center.

Credits to the videos

Producer-Camera-EditingPatrick Rouxel
NarrationAudrey Martin
Music composerFrédéric Sanchez del Rio
Stock footageHook Films
Franck Cuvelier
Pierre Olivier Bonasse
Sébastien Duffillot
Recording studioPresent Moment Entertainment
Technical assistanceYoann Copinet

Website by Thierry Lauthelier


If you have any inquiries about this campaign or about Mae Boua Ngeun, please don’t hesitate to write to Patrick Rouxel (founder of Sun Bear Outreach) at

I am personally fully dedicated to preventing Mae Boua Ngeun from leaving ECC and will be happy to answer any questions you may have.