Established in 1993, the mountainous Nam Ha NPA stretches from the Chinese border through the middle of Namtha province, covering over 224,000 hectares and about 24% of the province. In 2003 the Nam Ha National Protected Area (NPA) was designated as an ASEAN Heritage Site. Nam Ha is contiguous with the 44,000 hectare Shiang Yong Protected Area in Yunnan, China. It is populated with ethnic minority groups and well known for a range of ecotourism activities.
The Nam Ha NPA’s landscape is very diverse, characterized by an ever changing mosaic of swidden fields and regenerating forests. Very old forest remains in a few remote areas due to inaccessibility. It is estimated that about 32% of the NPA is undisturbed or primary forest. Within the NPA boundaries two peaks top 2,000 meters and dozens of rivers and streams crisscross the NPA’s rugged landscape.
More than 30 mammals inhabit Nam Ha NPA including rare tigers, leopards and gaurs (a large, wild cow) although large mammals are very hard to see. There are also some 300 bird species, such silver pheasants, blue and eared pitas, and a variety of bulbuls.
Muang Sing supports one of the last populations of Asian Elephants in northern Laos and one of the very few elephant groups left in all of China. These majestic creatures live a nomadic life traveling between China and Laos just to the east of Muang Sing. They come to Lao to feast on the sugar cane planted near the border and in recent years have come into increasing conflict with local people. The government and several international organizations are working together to ensure that villagers are compensated for their losses, and that in time the elephants and people will be able to coexist peacefully. More Detail About Nam Ha NPN, try www.namha-npa.org