Laos is home to over one hundred species of large mammal. Many of these are familiar Asian species such as Tiger, Asian Elephant and Gaur (a species of wild cattle). Laos is also home to an impressive diversity of primates including five species of gibbon, five species of macaque and fours species of leaf monkey including the incredibly beautiful Douc Langur. In recent years Laos has received international attention after the discovery of an incredible variety of species new to science. These recent discoveries include the Saola, a strange and beautiful forest dwelling antelope-like creature, an incredible diversity of small deer species known as muntjacs, a small striped rabbit and a completely new family of rodent known locally as the Kha-nyou and closely related to porcupines.
In addition to mammals, Lao supports over 165 species of amphibians and reptiles, including species such as the Rock and Burmese Pythons, King Cobras and the large and noisy Tokay Gecko (Gekko gecko) a formidable resident of many Lao houses. Opportunities to view this incredible diversity of wildlife are steadily growing. A long history of market and subsistence hunting have depressed many wildlife populations across the country. The increase in ecotourism and traveler’s interest in viewing wildlife now provides positive financial reinforcement for residents to conserve many of these species. Let people know that you want to visit the habitats of Lao wildlife. In particular there are several projects that specifically search for gibbons and elephants.