Talbots to describe expedition in Laos

Lee and Marty Talbot will talk about their January-February, 2011, expedition into the Nam Theun Watershed in central Laos at the ECWG Nov. 3 dinner at the Cosmos Club.

The expedition took them into the Nakai Nam Theun National Protected Area in central Laos.

Because of its remote location and rugged topography, parts of the area still have not been visited by Westerners and the area remains remarkably little known.

They travelled by aluminum boat and dugouts canoes up the main rivers into the watershed and spent nearly three weeks visiting eleven of the main villages in this remote area, in part to assess the effectiveness of the government efforts to assist the villagers. The villages are remote and scattered through the roadless watershed area, so these visits required days of hiking, some riding on the backs of motorbikes over mountain trails, and considerable travel by dugout canoes.

The second goal of the expedition was a very remote area high in the Annamite Mountains near the Vietnam border. This is a high forested region with possible grasslands considered to be a priority biodiversity conservation area but essentially unknown.

They proceeded by boat and foot, camping on sand bars, to a very remote village where they obtained village porters.

They then hiked south, a very rigorous endeavor involving following poachers’ trails or going cross country, camping en route. They found the grasslands, and recently abandoned camps that would accomodate over a hundred Vietnamese poachers, large numbers of poachers’ snares and, stores of illegally cut rosewood. They heard poachers’ shots every day.

The cocktail hour will begin at 6 p.m.

Dinners are $50 per person. Reservations must be received before noon on Tuesday, October 30, 2012 by Bill Runyon, 1812 19th St. NW Washington DC 20009, (202) 234-749;  email: bill.runyon@verizon.net

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