Friday, November 24, 2017

As Myanmar’s elephants vanish, artists bring them to life in downtown Yangon

COMMUTERS could be excused for thinking someone spiked their morning laphet yay with reports of a rather unusual site in downtown Yangon today; a herd of elephants out the front of city hall towering above the gridlock of cars and busses. 

But these aren’t hallucinations.  This very real sculpture exhibition marks the beginning of a six-month campaign to draw attention to elephant poaching and confront the crisis which has seen Myanmar’s wild elephant population reduced to alarming levels.

One of the seven giant paper mache elephants that make up the sculpture piece ‘We Love Our Momos’ was made with old newspaper clippings of environmental stories which includes coverage of the brutal killings of elephants for their skin to waste disposal problems in Yangon.

‘We Love Our Momos’, on display from November 4 to 6 at Mahabandoola Park in downtown Yangon, is part of the ‘Voices for Momos’ campaign organized by a coalition of conservation organizations including World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and Fauna and Flora International (FFI).

“I’ve always wanted to make giant elephant sculptures but they also reflect the current situation of elephant killings,” said graffiti artist Arker Kyaw, who led a team of artists in the construction of the sculptures.

The team which included master bamboo sculptor U Myint have been building the seven giant elephants since September.

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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Myanmar gov't to shut down illegal wildlife trade markets in Golden Triangle region by 2020

Myanmar government has planned to shut down at least 20 illegal wildlife trade markets in Golden Triangle border region by 2020 with the help of the Wildlife conservation groups, official Global New Light of Myanmar reported Wednesday.

In Golden Triangle border region which is between Myanmar, Thailand and Laos, wildlife species such as tigers, elephants are mostly traded as well as rhinoceros, serow, helmeted hornbill, gaur, leopard and turtles are also traded in the region.

Due to increased numbers of wildlife trade, hundreds of wildlife species are endangered, according to an official from World Wildlife Fund (Myanmar).

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Winkabaw Camp needs milk for orphaned baby elephants

If you decide to go on a weekend excursion to Winkabaw Elephant Orphanage Camp in Bago Region, it would greatly help bringing along a pack or two of milk powder for its voracious baby pachyderm residents, a senior camp official appealed.

U Myint Soe, officer in charge of Winkabaw Elephant Camp told The Myanmar Times last week, that his seven wards each consumes between two to three bags of milk powder daily.

“There are no regular donations. We just receive K1000 to K4000 per day. And if you ask whether donations (of milk powder) could be used, I’d say they are always needed,” said U Myint Soe.

“The calves must be protected and cared like orphan kids,” he added.

Since opening last year, it has cared for seven orphaned baby elephants, of which two are domesticated and five are wild. Because they need to be fed milk powder, a donation box has been placed at the camp for donations, U Myint Soe said.

“They (baby elephants) are marked with numbers. No.1 needs 3 bags of 600 grammes a day. Others need 2 bags. A 600g milk powder bag costs around K10,000 and K16,000 for 800g,” he said.

Among its seven wards, two were domestic ones and arrived at the camp after their mother died and the five wild ones just escaped from the hands of elephant poachers in Ayeyarwady Region.

Five attendants take care of the seven orphans in the camp and although there is no difficulty in taking care of the calves, it is necessary to be careful as they can’t be hurt, according to U Myint Soe.

Aside from the orphan baby elephants, there are more than 10 elephants in Winkabaw.

Winkabaw Elephant Camp opened in 2016 and is located at Bayargyi-Bawnakgyi Road, 22.5 kilometres north of Bago and about 6.5 kilometres west of Bayargyi township.

“Most baby elephants were left at the camp after their mothers were killed and they cannot live like a normal wild elephants. So, we have to take care as much as we can. When they are adults they can find their own food but we need to train them to stay naturally,’’ said Dr Myo Min Aung, a veterinarian.’’

Visitors can closely watch how the baby elephants are being taken cared by their attendants.

“During school days, about 20 to 30 people visit the orphanage but during holidays, hundreds of people come here,” U Myint soe said.

The camp is open daily from 7am to 6pm. Those who want to visit can contact 09-431 216 47, 09-778 132 360 and 09-250 90 80.

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Elephant camp reopens for travel season

The Nathmaw elephant camp.

The highest earning elephant camp in Bago Region reopened yesterday for the travel season.

The Nathmaw camp in Pyay District opened for the first time between December and March and earned over Ks26 million. The elephants are reportedly released to the Bago Range during the rainy season when visitors are fewer in number.

Htun Htun Oo, deputy general manager of the Bago Region timber enterprise, said: “The camp is near the ports and its service fee is lower than that of other camps. So we can say it is the highest earning elephant camp in the country.”

Visitors can ride the elephants around the jungle and interact with them.

“We keep two males and one female and have ordered a mother and her baby,” said Tin Min Oo, deputy general manager of the Pyay timber enterprise. “An elephant ride lasts around 15 to 30 minutes.”

Foreign tourists are charged Ks20,000 for a ride and local visitors Ks2,000. The camp closes on Mondays. (US$1 = Ks1,350)

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Tuesday, November 21, 2017

In a disturbing new trend, poachers are killing Myanmar’s elephants for their skin, teeth, and tails

In a disturbing and growing new trend, Asian elephants of all ages are being slaughtered in Myanmar for their skin and other body parts. Elephant poaching rates since January have already surpassed the annual average for the country—in a country that has less than 2,000 wild Asian elephants, this is a frightening uptick that requires immediate action to ensure their survival.

An astounding 110 elephants have been reported killed since 2013, primarily in the Bago Yoma and Ayeyarwady Delta where armed conflict and a lack of law enforcement make the terrain more accessible to poachers. At this rate, wild elephants could vanish from these two key areas of Myanmar in only one or two years.

“Asian elephants are already facing tremendous challenges across their range,” said WWF’s Nilanga Jayasinghe, senior program officer for Asian species. “Adding to those is this new trend that we are seeing in Myanmar of herds being indiscriminately poached for their skin. It is extremely alarming. We must act now to protect them!”

An emerging new threat
There are fewer than 50,000 Asian elephants left in the wild, and fewer than 2,000 in Myanmar. For decades, they’ve faced the threats of habitat loss, human-elephant conflict, and, to a lesser extent, poaching. But poaching for body parts other than tusks (only male Asian elephants grow tusks, and only 1% of male elephants in Myanmar have tusks) is on the rise.

Elephant skin is sold dried and is mixed with other ingredients to make topical creams for dry skin conditions, and consumed as medicine for stomach ailments. The skin is also polished into beads and sold as lucky charm bracelets, while tail hairs are put into silver rings and worn for luck. Elephant teeth are ground down into a powder which is used on the face to reduce spots and inflammation. Most markets selling elephant products sit along the border regions of China, Laos, and Thailand, but there’s also a demand in Myanmar.

We can help protect Myanmar’s wild elephants
Right now, there are no anti-poaching patrols in the Bago Yoma and Ayeyarwady Delta regions. That’s why WWF is launching an emergency action plan to train, equip, and deploy 10 anti-poaching teams to the most vulnerable areas, and implementing a thorough plan to stop the slaughter.

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White elephants seen at shelter in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar

An elephant food seller feeds sugarcane to a white elephant at a shelter in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar, Nov. 17, 2017. White elephant, symbolizing royal power and prosperity, is believed to bring good fortune into the country.

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Friday, November 03, 2017

And when I get that feeling, I want animal healing

Past traumas can have devastating effects. What goes for humans goes for animals too.

IN the Htamanthi wildlife sanctuary, on the eastern bank of the Chindwin River -- northern Myanmar -- a little monkey looks wary. Rain clouds form on the horizon, and as they swell, the Hoolock Gibbon becomes edgier. Suddenly, thunderclap bursts and the frightened animal darts into the arms of his caretaker, hiding his little head deep into his bosom.

That happens every time the rain comes, explains Naw Kaung, a project assistant from Wildlife Conservation Society-Myanmar Program.

The little creature was named Valentine by the caretakers as he arrived to the sanctuary on February 14th – Valentine’s Day. A few days earlier, Valentine too was with the person he loved most: his mother. As he was suckling in the wild, hunters attacked and killed her. Rain, too, poured that day.

“[Valentine] looked fearful when he first arrived at the sanctuary. After a month of care, he would look normal on an ordinary day. But when dark clouds gather, he becomes reckless and runs in fear, looking for shelter into someone’s bosom, no matter how far his caretaker is from him,” says Naw Kaung.

Naw Kaung and his colleagues traced the cause of his trauma by interrogating the people who brought Valentine to the sanctuary. Since then, they have tried to help the monkey overcome his fears. They surround him with kindness and warmth, pat him on the head when the clouds form and even allow him to sleep near humans. Valentine is showing signs of recovery and is becoming a clever little gibbon, but overcoming such a traumatic experience might take years. In fact, it might always resonate deep inside him.

Mary, a baby elephant, had a similar fate. She was in the bosom of her mother when the latter was poached for her skin last December in the Ayeyarwady Region. Mary was found wandering around with a herd of cows about five kilometers from her mother’s body.

The orphan calf arrived at the Forest Department on Christmas Eve. The department’s staff named her Mary (For some reason, caretakers seems to be Catholic in this part of Myanmar). The calf was transferred to the Winga Baw Elephant Conservation Camp where she joined the seven orphan elephants the camp has received since it’s opening in 2016.

Mary escaped because the poachers thought her skin wouldn’t be sold for much. It wasn’t worth the effort to take it off her. Instead, they let her wander off, alone and frightened.

In the past, poachers mostly targeted male elephants for their tusks and the issue of orphans were rare. Now, demand for elephant skin in China is shooting up, and the number of orphans knocking at sanctuary doors becomes deafening.

“The other young calves with their mothers in the camp are cheerful and playful. Mary was quiet,” says U Myint Soe, who is running the camp. Wild elephants have problems adapting to their new life and heal.

The loss of a mother is traumatic for domesticated calves too, but other female elephants can take care of them. Finding a surrogate mother for a wild calf is more complicated, as they have habits and instincts an elephant who has lived in captivity may not understand.

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Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Yangon’s oldest elephant Mo Mo turns 64

The Yangon Zoological Garden held a celebration over the weekend in honor of Mo Mo – the city’s oldest elephant – who just celebrated her 64th birthday.

The celebration was held on Saturday and Sunday and included special entertainment programs and discounts for visitors.

The zoo celebrates Mo Mo’s birthday every year by dressing her up in a sparkly outfit and releasing a number of birds equal to her age.

“We treat her like a human,” said zoo manager Aye Hlaing in 2015.

Mo Mo was born in 1953 and entered captivity at the age of seven, when a lumberjack named Khun Sanda found her lost in the forest, separated from her family.

She was initially trained to work in logging, but her humans eventually decided to send her to the Yangon Zoological Garden, where she has risen to fame through her harmonica performances and dance routines.

Over the many decades she has spent at the zoo, she has watched old friends pass away and keepers retire.

In 1994 and 1996, she participated in parades held to celebrate the arrival of a Chinese Buddha tooth relic, according to the Myanmar Times.

She survived serious stomach illness in 1997, but her health is reportedly otherwise good.

Zoo veterinarian Myint Thein told Eleven: “Sixty-four years old is quite old. Humans would have hair turning white and loosing teeth, but that is still not so for Mo Mo. It is actually quite important for elephants to have their teeth intact because when they eat, they have to be able to grind it down in their mouth. Otherwise they risk dying from indigestion.”

He added: “Mo Mo is one of the lucky ones among the elephants. Her karma is unmatched. She has no illnesses to speak of, and she’s still loved by the people even after so long.”

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Saturday, October 14, 2017

Number of visitors to Wingabaw Elephant Camp increased by 80 %

HE number of visitors to Wingabaw Elephant Camp in Bago Region has increased by 80 per cent when compared with its opening in late 2016, said U Myint Soe, in-charge of the camp.

According to the Myawady Daily’s Sunday issue, the camp hosts 50 visitors in average on every weekday beginning from this financial year. At the weekend, the number of visitors increased to about 100 the most.

Located near Wingabaw Village in Phayagyi Town, Bago Region, the elephant camp has been opened to the public since 3 November, 2016. The 86.2-acre wide camp is situated nearly 40 miles from Yangon. There are seven orphaned baby elephants plus 10 adult elephants.

The admission fees for local visitor is Ks1,000 per head and Ks5,000 for those who want to ride an elephant while a foreigner have to Ks20,000 for elephant trekking.

Elephant bathing watch is also available between 7 a.m. and 8.30 p.m. daily. “We widely explain the natural characters and movements of the large mammal to the visitors while they visiting around the camp for observation purpose between 12 to 3 p.m. on a daily basis,” said U Myint Soe.—GNLM

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Thursday, October 12, 2017

Terrifying new elephant poaching epidemic to meet demand for ‘health’ jewellery made from their skin

Lying slaughtered in a forest ­clearing, its skin half-peeled, the elephant is one of 20 found dead the same day, many of them mothers and calves, all killed by poisoned dart.

But these animals were not butchered for their precious ivory tusks; they were killed for their thick, grey hide.

It is hacked off while their bodies are still warm. The rest of the beast is left to rot.

Just last week Environment Secretary Michael Gove announced plans to ban all ivory sales in the UK, in an attempt to help save elephants across the globe.

But the Mirror has learned that record numbers of Asian elephants face a terrifying new poaching epidemic – for a sick trend of jewellery made from their skin.

Monica Wrobel, head of conservation at wildlife charity Elephant Family, said: “These elephants were killed to order. The herd were tracked, slaughtered, and every bit of skin taken.”

The skin is polished and made into blood-red beads, which are sold as bracelets and necklaces at up to £75 each. Traders claim they can ward off illness.

Demand for the illegal jewellery is already so high in China that dealers are demanding more elephant skin from smugglers.

Last year, rangers found more than 60 elephants butchered for skin in Myan­mar, formerly Burma – now the epicentre of this poaching epidemic.

This year has been worse. Investigators seized 66 trunks in a single haul. Two herds were slaughtered, with a further six skinned elephants found in six weeks in the summer.

And if demand for beads ­continues to grow at this rate, these already endangered ­animals could be poached to the brink of extinction within two years.

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Animal ranger held captive and beaten for three days after trying to stop poachers

Rohit Singh sat slumped in the corner of his locked cell, the hunger pains in his stomach throbbing in time with the bruises that covered his body.

He dreaded the sound of the key in the lock – that would mean yet another beating.

He was to spend three days held hostage, his captors the poachers who slaughter elephants and other animals to make a quick buck.

Yesterday, the Mirror revealed elephants in Myanmar, where Rohit worked, could be pushed to the brink of extinction within two years because of a new Asian craze to turn their skin into beads – which traders claim have health benefits.

Some 20 elephants were found killed and skinned in one day alone in the war-torn country.

But while action groups and ­charities are trying to stop the poaching, rangers such as Rohit are facing an explosion of violence against them, as they try to tackle the criminals while surviving on as little as £1.50 a day from local authorities.

Rohit, 33, tells the Mirror how he was kidnapped after trying to go undercover with a poaching gang – but had his cover blown by a drunk colleague.

“A gang of them beat me up and locked me in a room for three days,” he says. “Every so often, they would come back and attack me again, trying to beat information out of me.” He was only saved because a back-up unit was on standby, waiting to raid the building if they did not hear from Rohit for 48 hours. They rescued him, seized the animal parts and arrested the poachers.

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Rohingya refugees at risk of elephant attacks

Rohingya refugees have been setting up makeshift shelters in Cox’s Bazar’s Teknaf and Ukhiya by blocking wild elephants’ path, which may compel elephants to leave their sanctuary and attack the occupants. Researchers and forest conservation officers said the refugees are settling in areas from Kutupalong camp to Balukhali camp which are designated as wild elephant routes.

Also Read- 2 die as elephants stampede through Rohingya slumThe report said around 78 wild elephants live in the conserved forests of Ukhiya and Teknaf areas in dry season. Southern Cox’s Bazar Divisional Forest Conservation Officer Ali Kabir said: “Teknaf and Ukhiya areas are the elephants’ main habitat.

According to the UN, 480,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh’s southeastern border region since August 25 military crackdown against Rohingya in Myanmar’s Rakhine state.

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Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Largest elephant conservation camp in region to be constructed in Ye Nwe reserve forest

An elephant conservation camp which can accommodate 5,000 elephants will be constructed at the Ye Nwe Forest Reserve in order to be able to implement an ecotourism zone, according to a report in the Myawady Daily yesterday.

The project will be undertaken with an aim to create the largest elephant conservation camp in the Southeast Asia.

About 5,000 elephants from private companies and the Myanma Timber Enterprise will be cared for at the Ye Nwe Forest Reserve.

“The government has suspended timber extraction since 2014. Therefore, there were difficulties in feeding the elephants.

So the largest elephant conservation camp will be implemented with the assistance of Four Paws International,” said Dr.

Phone Win, the chairman of Mingalar Myanmar Organisation. The elephant camp will include a baby elephant care centre, elephant hospitals and a home for aged elephants.

The government provides the land while Four Paws International provides financial assistance, technical assistance and other aid.

The project will be completed within 10 years and will be constructed with eco-tourists in mind.

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Saturday, September 30, 2017

Passage for elephants blocked

The natural corridors for around 50 wild elephants in Ukhia's reserve forest area have been blocked by temporary camps set up for the helpless Rohingya refugees.

Experts say the animals, which come from Bandarban's Naikhyangchhari usually during the winter, might face the threat of extinction if the situation does not change.

They say many parts of the 30,000 acres of forest land in Ukhia have already been razed to the ground and the Rohingya settlement could be the final nail in the coffin for the large mammals.

Elephants, which move in groups, go on seasonal migrations in search of food, water, minerals, and mates.

Talking to The Daily Star yesterday, biodiversity expert Anisuzzaman, chief adviser of Isabella Foundation, said the around 50 elephants, which were already in trouble due to the construction of Cox's Bazar-Teknaf highway, could face the threat of extinction if their migratory routes are kept blocked.

He said once the corridors are closed, the animals would start mating within the group, resulting in weaker breeds. In the long run, the elephants might not survive, he added.

Anisuzzaman also said such closure of the corridors could trigger human-elephant conflicts in the area, leading to deaths on both sides.

According to the World Wildlife Fund, the conflict is a result of habitat loss and fragmentation. When elephants and humans interact, there is a conflict from elephant raids, leading to injuries and deaths of humans. Also, elephants are killed by humans for reasons other than ivory collection, it says.

A forest official said two Rohingyas died after being trampled by elephants last week.

Again, in the face of the conflict, elephants often stop using their usual migratory routes and in many cases, they start mating within their group, say experts.

Over 429,000 Rohingyas fled to Bangladesh, after violence broke out in their homeland in Mynanmar's Rakhine on August 25.

Failing to get place in the registered camps, many of the refugees had to set up camps by the Cox's Bazar-Teknaf highway. Unfortunately, the camps blocked the elephant corridors in Ukhia.

In a month or so, forest officials said, over 4,500 acres of the reserve forest area in Ukhia had been completely destroyed in addition to the damages caused earlier.

Again, the government has recently allocated 2,000 acres of reserve forest land in Ukhia Ghat Mouja area for setting up a new camp for the Rohingyas.

Contacted, Cox's Bazar Deputy Commissioner Md Ali Hossain said the government had no other option but to allocate the reserve forest land for the refugees. He said the administration had no khas land in its possession.

The inter-sector coordination group, a consortium of foreign donors, was working to build the camp, said forest officials.

Visiting the Ukhia Ghat Mouja, these correspondents saw that around one fifth of the 30,000 acres of land already had many new and old Rohingya settlements on it.

Similar camps were seen in Shilkhali and Whykang Moujas in Teknaf, and in private rubber plantation area in Naikhyangchhari of Bandarban.

A huge area of the reserve forest has been razed to the ground. Old clothes, plastic bottles, polythene bags remain scattered at places.

The district administration sources said many of the 14 new camps were blocking the elephant corridors, including those in Ukhia.

Talking to The Daily Star yesterday, several civil society members said the government should act faster to ensure that the natural elephant corridors are freed. They said it would help the animals migrate without any trouble.

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Saturday, September 09, 2017

WWF-Myanmar sounds alarm about illegal wildlife trade

Trafficking of wild animals continues to haunt Myanmar despite attempts to curb the crimes, and experts warn that the trend could damage animal populations if it goes unchecked.

WWF-Myanmar raised the alert over the intensified illegal wildlife trade in the country, which targets pangolins, bears and elephant skin.

Cases are on the rise – 28 cases led to arrests in 2013 and 34 last year. So far this year, 24 cases have been reported through August, according to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation.

Dr Sapai Min, project manager for illegal wildlife trade for WWF-Myanmar, warned about widespread illegal wildlife trading in the border towns of Tachileik and Mong La that mostly thrive on wildlife species found in the country.

“I had been to Tachileik and Mong La three or four times. I went to Mong La early this year. When I went there in 2015, there were 15 places selling wildlife products. This year, there are already 42 markets for the illegal wildlife trade. This could greatly damage wildlife in Myanmar,” she cautioned.

WWF-Myanmar is seeking to minimise, if not completely eradicate, the illegal wildlife trading in Mong La  in cooperation with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection, as well as law enforcement agencies, such as the police and customs department.

Dr Sapai Min noted an increase in the demand for both elephant and tiger skins, as well as for pangolins and bears.

“We can see as many as 20 pairs of hands of bears in Kyihteeyo Pagoda,” Dr Sapai Min said. “In the not so distant future bears will become rare and endangered species in the country.”

Mong La is a notorious place for illegal wildlife trading in Myanmar border with China and authorities have found it very difficult to control the illegal wildlife trade in the area.

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Saturday, September 02, 2017

Myanmar elephant killings raise fears of extinction

At least 30 elephants have been reported killed in Myanmar this year, according to a joint report by the Wildlife Conservation Society, Fauna and Flora International (FFI) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) released on August 12, in honor of World Elephant Day.

This year’s death toll exceeds numbers reported in previous years, raising concerns among wildlife conservation professionals about the survival of Myanmar’s wild elephant population.

 “This year, 30 elephants have been killed by hunters. Over six weeks, five elephants were killed. It is a bit higher than the average annual number of elephant deaths,” said Aung Myo Chit, the coordinator of the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Myanmar.

Myanmar’s wild elephant population is thought to have almost halved over the past decade to between 2,000 and 3,000, though some estimates put the number far lower.

Some elephants are killed in wars waged against humans over land and resources. According to government figures, since 2010, at least 35 people and 95 elephants have died this way.

Even more elephants, however, are targeted by hunters, who use poisoned arrows or rifles to kill the animals so they can sell their body parts. Elephant poaching is thought to have increased tenfold in recent years.

“The illegal trade in elephant skin is rampant,” said Mark Grindley, the Taninthayi programme manager for FFI. “People are using skin as jewelry and medicine. There is an illegal trade in elephant skin and parts of other wild animals at famous destinations like Yangon and Kyaiktiyio Pagoda.”

Elephant skin can sell for up to K5,000 (US$3.65) per square inch.

“Poachers kill female and baby elephants for their skin,” said FFI Taninthayi field coordinator Nay Myo Shwe. “Myanmar’s elephants face extinction if it continues.”

Fortunately, wildlife organizations have stepped up to address the poaching crisis. WWF announced on August 10 that it had raised $263,211 from 3,000 supporters to fund an emergency action plan to train rangers to fight wildlife crime.

“Training rangers is the first step on our journey to win this battle against poachers,” said Christy Williams, country director of WWF Myanmar. “Rangers are on the conservation frontlines, protecting the world’s natural and cultural treasures. With their commitment and the help of our supporters, there is hope for Asian elephants.”

The donations funded an eight-day training on law enforcement methods, intelligence gathering and crime scene management for 45 Myanmar rangers. They were also given lessons on the value of biodiversity.

The rangers are expected to begin patrolling next month.

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Conservationists alarmed over rising elephant skin trade

Conservationists have raised alarm over the increase in elephant skin trading in the country that targets mother elephants and calves, which could lead to the extinction of wild elephants in the country.

“Unlike ivory poaching, which targets tusked males, the sudden increase in the demand for the skin means the poaching is indiscriminate, with mothers and calves being poisoned and skinned,’’ said Nay Myo Shwe, Tanintharyi Conservation Programme coordinator, Fauna & Flora International Myanmar.

“If this continues it could lead to the extinction of wild elephants in Myanmar,” Nay Myo Shwe warned.

On World Elephant Day on August 12, national and international conservation organisations FFI, WCS, WWF and Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute expressed grave concern about the plight of Myanmar’s declining wild elephant population following a surge in demand for the skin.

The wild elephant population in the country has plummeted, with estimates at between 1400 and 2000, however the numbers could be far lower, conservationists said.

They noted that while elephant skin has long been part of the illegal wildlife trade but never at the current levels.

According to Mark Grindley, manager of Tanintharyi Conservation Programme, Fauna & Flora International Myanmar, elephant skin is traded illegally and turned into jewellery or consumed as medicine that has no proven medical value.

He noted that elephant skin and other wildlife trade products are openly sold in tourist destinations in the country, such as Yangon and Kyaiktiyo.

“Closing these markets is a key step if we are to ensure the future of Myanmar’s wild elephant,” said Mark Grindley.

“At least 30 wild elephants have been killed so far in 2017. This is far above the previous yearly killing average for Myanmar,” said Aung Myo Chit, country coordinator of the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute.

Christy Williams, country director of the WWF-Myanmar, urged people to report any sale of elephant products or any suspected poaching to the authorities.

Myanmar had an estimated 10,000 wild elephants a few decades ago. Since 2010, government figures record at least 35 human deaths and 95 elephant deaths due to poaching and conflict in Myanmar.

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Suspect shot in elephant poacher bust

The body of a wild elephant killed in Ayeyawady Region.

A suspected elephant poacher was shot while resisting arrest during a police bust on August 13 in Thabaung Township, Ayeyawady Region.

Suspect Cho Tin, a 55-year-old resident of Ayeywady Region, was wounded on his right thigh and is now being treated at the Pathein General Hospital. Two other suspects who were with Chi Tin at the time of the attempted arrest are on the loose, according to police.

Police Captain Myo Lwin of Thabaung Township said: “We’ve heard about elephant poachers in this region. After spotting a slaughtered elephant, we continued looking for suspects and found them in the middle of the forest. One suspect was aiming his gun at us, so we had to shoot him. The wound was not critical.”

The police also seized two guns, four small tusks and other remains of an elephant.

Soe Tint, chief of the Thabaung Township forestry department, said: “The dead elephant we found was huge. So I assume the poachers are working in large numbers.”

The suspect will face charges for hunting wildlife and carrying weapons.

Police, army and forest guards are carrying out operations against elephant poachers in Thabaung, Ngaputaw and Pathein townships.

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Myanmar donates elephant to Sri Lanka

Myanma Timber Enterprise donated an elephant to Sri Lanka yesterday to be used in religious ceremonies.

“Pann Shwe Maung”, the male elephant, was handed over to Sri Lankan diplomats at the Yangon Zoological Garden.

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Sunday, August 27, 2017

Traditional medicine threatens Myanmar’s elephants

Trade in elephant skin for use in traditional medicine has increased in Myanmar, alarming conservationists and authorities who have monitored the species’ decline.

Hand-sized coarse pieces of elephant skin are available for sale in major markets in the country, and are sought by clients for their medicinal properties as per local beliefs.

“We have always seen elephant skin for sale. The problem is not new, but yes, the demand is growing,” Chris Shepherd, the Southeast Asia director of wildlife trade monitoring network TRAFFIC, told Efe news.

Shepherd said the network had found elephant skin in areas as diverse as the Mongla region in eastern Myanmar, bordering China, and the famous “Golden Rock” in the south.

“The main destination is China, in places such as Mongla Chinese currency is used, Chinese is spoken and the clients too are from that country. However, there is also local consumption,” he explained.

Laminated strips of elephant hide can be found along with other valued parts of the animal, such as tusks and hooves, and different birds, felines, primates and reptiles.

The government and conservationists are not in agreement on the number of elephants killed by traffickers.

While the authorities say that at least around a dozen pachyderms were killed last year, nonprofits claim the number is more than 50 and report an increase in hunting in 2017.

Elephant skin costs around 150,000 Myanmar kyat ($110) for a kg, and is used in traditional medicine to cure eczema and other skin problems, and as an ingredient to make ointments for bleaching treatments.

In January, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation approved a 10-year plan with the aim of boosting the protection and conservation of elephants.

According to unofficial figures, there are between 1,400 and 2,000 wild elephants and some 6,000 in captivity in Myanmar.

Please credit and share this article with others using this link:http://www.india.com/news/agencies/traditional-medicine-threatens-myanmars-elephants-2317721/

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Elephant Killed by Poisoned Bolt in Irrawaddy Region

PATHEIN, Irrawaddy Region — A wild elephant was hunted and killed with a poisoned bolt—an arrow shot from a crossbow—in the village tract of Tin Chaung in Irrawaddy Region’s Ngapudaw Township.

Following a report from locals, a combined team from the Forestry Department, Livestock Breeding and Veterinary Department, police, forestry police and administrative authorities searched the forest and found the dying elephant near the village of Yawn Yin on Friday.

“After it was reported, we searched for and found the poisoned elephant. It had not died yet and the poachers were likely waiting for it to die. We had to flee at one point when it tried to attack but it died later in the evening,” head of Ngapudaw Township Forestry Department U Tin Soe told The Irrawaddy.

The black female elephant was 26 years old, 7.6 feet long, 15 feet in circumference, and its trunk was 4.8 feet long. A 16-inch poisoned bolt was found in its shoulder.

Nine elephants have been killed by poachers in Irrawaddy Region as of January, all by poisoned bolts, according to the Irrawaddy Region Police Force.

Forest reserves in Pathein, Ngapudaw and Thabaung townships in Pathein District are home to wild elephants.

Poachers take the tusks, hide, flesh, and tails from hunted elephants and sell them to smugglers along the Pathein-Mawtin road. From there, smugglers take the items via the Pathein-Monywa road to Mandalay Region, where they smuggle them into China via the Mandalay-Muse road.

The majority of the elephant poachers have been from Minbu, Ngape, and Sidoktaya townships in Magwe Region, according to the Irrawaddy Region Police Force.

“We’ve opened a case at the police station, and we are working to find the poachers,” said U Tin Soe.

Locals have suggested conducting routine security patrols around the forest and installing inspection gates along the route to prevent poaching.

Last year, poachers killed 13 wild elephants in the region and police arrested hunters in four of the cases. They are still investigating six cases and closed three cases, as they could not identify the poachers.

Please credit and share this article with others using this link:https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/elephant-killed-poisoned-bolt-irrawaddy-region.html

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Baby elephant rescued by Myanma Forestry Department in Pathein

A baby elephant was rescued by officials from the Myanma Forestry Department and Myanma Timber Enterprise in Pathein Township, Ayeyawady Region on Wednesday. The elephant was found trapped near jagged rocks in Phoe Lwun Creek in the Chaungtha forest and rescued and brought to Ngaleintalel Village in Pathein.

Officials from the Myanma Forestry Department are nursing the baby elephant back to health and will eventually return it to its mother.

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Myanmar introduces elephant protection plan

Myanmar is stepping up efforts to protect its elephants with a new conservation project following a dramatic rise in poaching in recent years, officials said Thursday.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation (MONREC) has finalized an elephant conservation plan -- the first such scheme for Myanmar, which has the world’s second largest Asian elephant population after India.

“The Myanmar Elephant Conservation Action Plan is very important to support the long-term survival of Myanmar’s elephants,” said Environment Minister Ohn Win said in a statement.

The plan includes legislation against killing elephants and a proposal to establish a registry of wild and domesticated elephants. It outlines ten-year priorities to safeguard the animals, including enlisting public help in controlling poaching and the trade in elephants and their parts.

According to government statistics, 133 elephants have been lost in Myanmar over the last seven years, including 61 to poachers. Last year saw the loss of 25 elephants.

“The urgency now for elephant conservation action is due to increasing killing for the illegal trade in ivory and parts,” Ohn Win said.

Around 2,000 wild Asian elephants and 6,000 used in the timber industry are under increased threat from poaching for ivory, elephant skin and other parts, as well as the capture of elephants for the live trade, the U.S-based Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) said.

Simon Hedges, elephant coordinator with WCS, said the plan -- developed in collaboration with eight government departments and international conservation agencies -- is a significant achievement towards securing the future of Asian elephants in Myanmar.

“Habitat loss, poaching and human-elephant conflict are pressing threats to elephant conservation in Myanmar,” he said in a statement.

British non-profit EleAid group says poaching for ivory, meat and other parts is on a small scale in Myanmar. “However, poaching to capture elephant calves is known to be commonplace,” according to the organization’s website.

“The mother and often other members of the herd will fight to protect the calf and the hunters frequently resort to killing them. The calves are then smuggled in to Thailand for work in the tourist industry.”

Please credit and share this article with others using this link:http://www.azaniapost.com/asia/myanmar-introduces-elephant-protection-plan-h425.html

Saturday, August 05, 2017

Trade in traditional medicine threatens Myanmar's elephants

Trade in elephant skin for use in traditional medicine has increased in Myanmar, alarming conservationists and authorities who have monitored the species' decline.

Hand-sized coarse pieces of elephant skin are available for sale in major markets in the country, and are sought by clients for their medicinal properties as per local beliefs.

"We have always seen elephant skin for sale. The problem is not new, but yes, the demand is growing," Chris Shepherd, the Southeast Asia director of wildlife trade monitoring network TRAFFIC, told Efe news.

Shepherd said the network had found elephant skin in areas as diverse as the Mongla region in eastern Myanmar, bordering China, and the famous "Golden Rock" in the south.

"The main destination is China, in places such as Mongla Chinese currency is used, Chinese is spoken and the clients too are from that country. However, there is also local consumption," he explained.

Laminated strips of elephant hide can be found along with other valued parts of the animal, such as tusks and hooves, and different birds, felines, primates and reptiles.

The government and conservationists are not in agreement on the number of elephants killed by traffickers.

While the authorities say that at least around a dozen pachyderms were killed last year, nonprofits claim the number is more than 50 and report an increase in hunting in 2017.

Elephant skin costs around 150,000 Myanmar kyat ($110) for a kg, and is used in traditional medicine to cure eczema and other skin problems, and as an ingredient to make ointments for bleaching treatments.

In January, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation approved a 10-year plan with the aim of boosting the protection and conservation of elephants.

According to unofficial figures, there are between 1,400 and 2,000 wild elephants and some 6,000 in captivity in Myanmar.

Please credit and share this article with others using this link:http://en.prothom-alo.com/environment/news/153595/Trade-in-traditional-medicine-threatens-Myanmar-s

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Wild elephant found dead

The wild female elephant found dead outside of Kyaukchaunggyi forest reserve (Photo-EMG)
A wild female elephant was found dead on July 7 outside Kyaukchaunggyi forest reserve near Waryar village in Pathein Township, Ayeyarwaddy Region, according to regional police.

A combined team of police and officials from the forestry department inspected the corpse.

“We can’t tell how she died. A process is ongoing to find the cause of death and no police case has yet been filed,” said police officer Win Myint Tun from Thaletkwar.

The dead elephant was estimated to be 30. She was black, about seven feet in height and nine feet long.

Veterinarian Dr Than Nyunt Oo from the forestry department would conduct a medical examination, the police said.

Ayeyarwaddy regional police said a poisoned male elephant was found dead on June 13 in the same township.

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Monday, July 17, 2017

Over 4,700 domesticated elephants used in Myanmar for economic undertakings

 A total of 4,748 domesticated elephants in Myanmar are being used in timber extraction, heavy lifting as well as for riding at eco-tourism sites, official media reported on Wednesday.

However, about 72 wild elephants were killed by hunters from 2010 to 2017. Myanmar now has nearly 2,500 wild elephants in rainforests.

To protect wild elephants against hunters, Myanmar government has built wild elephant reserves, including those in Hukaung Valley, Alaungdaw Kathapa, Shwe U Daung, Myauk Zar Mayee, Rakhine and Yoma.

Myanmar has also signed the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) to protect wild elephants, setting aside 9,205 square miles for elephant sanctuaries.

Both local and international non-governmental organizations are exerting efforts to expand the area of land for wildlife reserves in the country.

At present, a local NGO and an elephant conservation organization from Australia are planning to establish an elephant reserve in the country.

Please credit and share this article with others using this link:http://en.gmw.cn/2017-06/28/content_24924067.htm

Monday, July 03, 2017

Global organisations aid Myanmar wild elephant conservation

Effective protection and conservation of the Myanmar wild elephant is being implemented with the help of international organisations, said Deputy Minister for Home Affairs Maj-Gen Aung Soe.

The deputy minister was responding to a question raised by U Nawn Naja Htan of Kachin State constituency in the 2nd Amyotha Hluttaw 5th regular session 14th day meeting yesterday about determining grazing grounds for domesticated elephants, buffalo and cows in Tanai Township, Kachin State.

The deputy minister said for long-term conservation of the bio-diverse species and its natural habitat, a Myanmar Elephant Conservation Action Plan workshop consisting of departmental organisations, international experts, NGOs, INGOs and locals was held. Underway is the drawing up of a final work plan for protection and conservation of Myanmar wild elephants.

He said domesticated animals in Tanai Township currently numbers 145 elephants, 1,928 buffalo and 1,909 cows, and as per the tradition in Tanai Township, these animals were allowed to roam freely and found to have sufficient area of grazing ground. The proposed grazing ground  north of Ledo Road, the upper reaches of Tabi Creek, Lamon Creek and Pyinya Creek, Tanai town is within the designated area of Hukawng Valley Wildlife Sanctuary and thus could not be permitted as grazing ground, the deputy minister said.

On a question raised by U Tet Tun Aung of Rakhine State constituency 2 on a plan to determine the area for Pauktaw Town designated by the union, Deputy Minister Maj-Gen Aung Soe said Pauktaw currently utilizes 420.41 acres and to demarcate and determine a town area a request was submitted by Rakhine State government on 18 May to the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation for appointment of the required boundary officers. Once these officers are appointed, boundary determination and demarcation works will be done in accordance with procedures he said.

Next, Deputy Minister Maj-Gen Aung Soe replied to questions by U Hla Myint @ U Hla Myint Than of Mon State constituency 11, U Pe Chit of Yangon Region constituency 9, U Kyaw Than of Rakine State constituency 10 and U Ko Ko Naing of Sagaing Region constituency 8 on designating an area for dwelling, taking actions on those who sold their street vending areas instead of setting up own stalls and appointing sufficient number of health care personnel. Afterward, U Tin Aung Tun of Magway Region constituency 5, U Htay Oo of Yangon Region constituency 2 and Daw Naw Chris Tun @ Dr. Ahkarmoe debated a bill on registering deeds.

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Wild elephant poisoned in Pathein

A wild elephant was found dead in Thalatkhwar forest reserve in Pathein Township, Ayeyawady Region, on June 13 with forensic tests showing it died of poisoning, not natural causes, according to the Patheintaung Timber Enterprise.

"The elephant was found to have an arrow wound with bleeding from its trunk and anus. We found that the elephant died of poisoning, not natural causes," said Myo Aung, manager of the enterprise.

He added that the elephant might have been shot far from the scene where it was found dead.

It was a male, almost 8 feet long and six feet tall.

The township forestry department, police and Madawgon village administrator were jointly investigating, it was announced.

Wild elephants are frequently found dead or killed in forests.

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Hmaw Yaw Gyi elephants draw thousands of visitors

Over 4,000 local and foreign visitors visited Hmaw Yaw Gyi elephant camp in Kyauktaga Township in Bago Region during the past 10 months.

The new elephant reserve is situated one mile away from Mile Post 105/4 on the Bago Region highway. The elephant-based tourism camp was opened on World Elephants’ Day, 12 August 2016.
The elephant park is one of Myanmar’s most popular destinations. Bago Region is home to four major elephant reserves including Kyein Ni, Khayu Chaung, Thingan Myaung and Hmaw Yaw Gyi elephant camps. Among the four elephant camps, the Hmaw Yaw Gyi has been chosen as a tourist destination and opened to spectators.

Hmaw Yaw Gyi is home to 25 elephants. Visitors can also greet and ride some of the elephants. On an average public holiday, about 90 people visit Hmaw Yaw Gyi. Myanmar nationals pay an entrance fee of Ks1,000 and Ks5,000 for elephant-riding. Foreign tourists are charged Ks20,000 each for entrance fees and elephant riding at the Hmaw Yaw Gyi elephant camp.

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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Elephant sanctuary to be opened in Ye Nwe

An elephant sanctuary will be opened jointly by the government departments concerned, an elephant conservation group from Australia and Mingalar Myanmar NGO, according to a report in the City News Daily yesterday.

In Myanmar, Elephant is one of the animals which need to be given priority to take care. The elephant conservation camp will be opened with an aim to prevent the endangered species from extinction. The elephant conservation camp is planned to be opened at Ye Nwe forest reserve in Bago Yoma.

Although we don’t need the wide space to take care of sick elephants, we need a much wider space for the healthy elephants to feed and go around naturally. Currently, we are still discussing with the government to open the elephant conservation camp, said an official from the Mingalar Myanmar NGO.

Similar elephant conservation camps have been opened in 14 countries by now with the assistance of the elephant conservation group from Australia.

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Monday, June 19, 2017

Captive elephants in Burma may be released to boost numbers

Hundreds of unemployed elephants in Burma, laid off from the once-booming timber trade, have emerged as potential saviours of the animal population.

One of the largest surviving wild elephant populations in Asia is being pushed to the brink as hunters feed demand for their hides in neighbouring China. Dozens of carcasses, stripped of their skins, have been found by villagers in recent months.

Campaigners have warned that hunters are increasingly targeting mothers and their calves, which will accelerate the slide in elephant numbers. In many cases, the poachers have used poisoned arrows to bring down their quarry, causing a slow, painful death.

To read the full article, click on the story title

Elephant sanctuary to be opened in Ye Nwe

An elephant sanctuary will be opened jointly by the government departments concerned, an elephant conservation group from Australia and Mingalar Myanmar NGO, according to a report in the City News Daily yesterday.

In Myanmar, Elephant is one of the animals which need to be given priority to take care. The elephant conservation camp will be opened with an aim to prevent the endangered species from extinction. The elephant conservation camp is planned to be opened at Ye Nwe forest reserve in Bago Yoma.

Although we don’t need the wide space to take care of sick elephants, we need a much wider space for the healthy elephants to feed and go around naturally. Currently, we are still discussing with the government to open the elephant conservation camp, said an official from the Mingalar Myanmar NGO.

Similar elephant conservation camps have been opened in 14 countries by now with the assistance of the elephant conservation group from Australia.

Please credit and share this article with others using this link:http://www.globalnewlightofmyanmar.com/elephant-sanctuary-to-be-opened-in-ye-nwe/

Myanmar rebel group recovers ‘sacred’ elephant tusks stolen from Thai village

The Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA), an insurgent group operating in Myanmar along the Thai border, handed over a pair of carved elephant tusks to Thai authorities today, ending a hunt that started on Friday.

The elaborately engraved tusks vanished from a pavilion in a Kayin village in Thailand’s Umphang district on Friday. Leaders of the village suspected a former village head named Baisu Khiridujjinda, who had come to the village and asked to sleep in the pavilion the night before the tusks went missing. They accused him of stealing the tusks and fleeing across the border to Myanmar’s Kayin State.

Within the next couple days, the DKBA located Baisu and the tusks in a newly opened monastery on top of Mount Mulayit in Kayin State, about 80 kilometers from the Thai border. Baisu had reportedly become a hermit and planned to use the sacred tusks to attract disciples, The Nation reported.


A 10-member team led by the chief of Umphang district travelled to the Thai-Myanmar border on Monday to retrieve the tusks from the DKBA. However, the insurgent group did not hand over Baisu, who remains at large in Myanmar.

A source on the Thai recovery team told The Nation that Baisu denied stealing the tusks, saying he had only borrowed them long enough to “perform a ritual” at the mountain-top monastery.

The source also said Baisu’s alleged theft might have had backing from armed groups in Myanmar, since the tusks came from a male elephant named Kwang Phu that was born on Mount Mulayit more than 200 years ago and taken to what is now Thailand by a Kayin mahout.

The stolen tusks are one of two pairs of tusks kept in the village pavilion in Umphang district there that are considered sacred by locals.

Please credit and share this article with others using this link:https://coconuts.co/yangon/news/myanmar-rebel-group-recovers-sacred-elephant-tusks-stolen-thai-village/

Myanmar's first elephant hospital underway

YANGON

THE COUNTRY'S first hospital for sick and ageing elephants is being built in Taungoo, Bago Region, but needs more funding, according to U Zaw Min Oo, manager of elephant sector of the Myanmar Timber Enterprise (MTE), under the Forest Department.

"I am looking for funding to finish the hospital. The government has supported us with some funding but more is needed," he said, adding,"We mainly need to upgrade the dirt road to a coal­tar road so it can be used in the rainy season."

The hospital and home for aged elephants which is being coordinated by the Elephant Department of the MTE, Asia Elephant Support, and Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad is 60­70 percent complete.

Most of the shelters for the staff have been built, the grasses for the elephants' food have been planted, a water hole has been dug, and solar energy has been installed for power.

The government chose Taungoo as the site of the hospital because its forests have the biggest population of privately owned elephants.

According to the government, about 3014 elephants are government­ owned and about 2500 are privately owned. A government ban on timber logging in the country for the past year, except by the MTE, has left these 2500 privately owned elephants out of work. The MTE will hire some of the private elephants if they don't have enough for this year's logging.

According to the Elephant Department, the hospital will not only treat sick animals and shelter old ones, but will also be part of conservation efforts, research and public education programs.

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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Captive elephants in Burma may be released to boost numbers

Hundreds of unemployed elephants in Burma, laid off from the once-booming timber trade, have emerged as potential saviours of the animal population.

One of the largest surviving wild elephant populations in Asia is being pushed to the brink as hunters feed demand for their hides in neighbouring China. Dozens of carcasses, stripped of their skins, have been found by villagers in recent months.

Campaigners have warned that hunters are increasingly targeting mothers and their calves, which will accelerate the slide in elephant numbers. In many cases, the poachers have used poisoned arrows to bring down their quarry, causing a slow, painful death.

To read the full article, click on the story title

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Ministry Apologizes After Posting Burma Army Chief Photo Alongside Elephant Story

RANGOON — The official Facebook page for Burma’s Ministry of Information (MOI) has apologized to the army’s Commander-in-Chief Snr-Gen Min Aung Hlaing after posting his picture alongside a story about a wounded elephant on Thursday morning.

The photo showed Snr-Gen Min Aung Hlaing and the Philippines’ armed forces chief Gen Eduardo Ano at the ASEAN Chiefs of Defense Forces Informal Meeting (ACDFIM) in Manila, with an article titled ‘A Wounded Wild Elephant was Found and Treated.’

In the story, the forestry department and police found a wounded elephant in the forest near a village in Thabeikkyin Township of Pyin Oo Lwin, Mandalay Division. The team treated the elephant’s injuries, including a wound from a poisoned arrow, and returned the animal to the forest.

The unfortunate juxtaposition was shared by social media users and prompted the MOI to apologize that night. Its website and newspapers released the correct pictures for both stories.

“We mistakenly published the commander-in-chief of the military’s photo in the news titled ‘A Wounded Wild Elephant was Found and Treated’ around 8 a.m. on May 18 on the MOI Webportal Myanmar Facebook page. We seriously apologize to the commander-in-chief for the mistake,” the apology read.

On May 11, the Facebook page published a photo-shopped photograph of US President Donald Trump holding an executive order imprinted with the words ‘James Comey You’re Fired!’

Please credit and share this article with others using this link:https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/ministry-apologizes-posting-burma-army-chief-photo-alongside-elephant-story.html

Friday, May 12, 2017

Ivory tusk smuggler caught again

KOTA KINABALU: Indonesian authorities have finally caught up with a woman who was detained and let go in Kalimantan on Jan 13, despite being found with ivory tusks believed to be from poached Borneo Pygmy elephants in Sabah.

According to officials, the 37-year-old Indonesian woman, who had been living in Sabah, was arrested upon her return to Nunukan via the state’s border town of Tawau at about 10pm on May 3.

A Kalimantan wildlife official, Subhan, said the woman was currently held at the Nunukan prison while the five ivory tusks earlier seized from her was in the safekeeping of the Natural Resource Conservation Centre in Samarinda, East Kalimantan.

She is being investigated for smuggling ivory from Sabah to Nunukan.

Subhan said that under the country’s Conservation of Biological and Natural Resources law, the woman now faced up to five years in prison and a fine of 100mil Rupiah.

The tusks were found on her days after reports emerged of three elephants, including a rare sabre-tusked animal whose rescue from a Tawau plantation in August was featured in newspapers, were found killed in Sabah.

To read the full article, click on the story title

Wingabaw receives another baby elephant

Yet another orphaned elephant has arrived at Wingabaw Elephant Camp, located in Bago Region.

The recently orphaned 5 months old baby elephant, nicknamed “Pan Nu May” which loosely translates into “flower girl”, is the fourth orphan the elephant preservation camp had taken in.

Pan Nu May’s mother had passed away from old age but the other three baby elephants weren’t so lucky with their parents having been hunted down by poachers.

“The latest baby elephant amongst us is Pan Nu May, and she’s from Dawei. It has been around two weeks since her mother died. There is one called Mary, named so because she came to us on Christmas Day, and she was found amongst a pack of cattle in Ayeyawady Region. Poachers got to her mother and skinned the poor creature. Another elephant called Ayeyarmay was given to us by a farmer couple who had taken care of her since she was found alone and lost in the forest. The last one, Yu Yu Htay, was sent to us from Nay Pyi Taw when the mother died from stomach flu. We have to rely on milk powder because all four are still at a milking age,” said a Wingabaw Elephant Camp staff member.

Wingabaw opened in November 2016 and now attracts around 400 visitors per week.

Locals pay Ks 5,000 for entry, while foreigners pay Ks 20,000.

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The fight against elephant poaching in Pegu Range

HAUNG SAUK VILLAGE, Pegu Range – The residents of Chaung Sauk, a village in the foothills of the Pegu Range, recalled the shock they felt last November when the giant carcass of a male elephant, stripped of its tusks and skin, was found bobbing in Sar Ngan Stream, about one kilometre upstream of their village.

“The elephant’s body drifted in the creek near our village. We then reported it to village authorities and the police station,” said Kyaw Hlaing Win, the village tract administrator.

The area in northern Rangoon Division’s Okkan Township has long been a place where farmers reside in close proximity to elephants, who live in the nearby forested mountains and occasionally come down to forage on vegetation and crops in the foothills.

During the past year, the area has increasingly become a place for poachers to hunt elephants, and villagers believe several elephants were killed, though only one carcass was found. “Elephant poachers have been spotted near our village since February last year. They set up bamboo huts at the base of the Bago [Pegu] Yoma and first were searching for tortoise eggs,” said Kyaw Hlaing Win.

Police have attempted to arrest the poaching ring, but were only able to apprehend some local villagers, including the previous village administrator, who helped poachers move around the area.

“Those arrested were not the poachers, but just their helpers and guides in the forest,” Kyaw Hlaing Win said, adding that he suspected ringleaders slipped away because of collusion with local authorities. “I don’t believe authorities didn’t know that poachers had entered the area with the help of the former village administrator,” he said.

To read the full article, click on the story title

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Nay Pyi Taw gets elephant camp

Some elephants at the Nga Laik elephant camp near the Nga Laik dam, Nay Pyi Taw
The Nga Laik Sakhamtha Elephant Camp will open near the Nga Laik dam, Nay Pyi Taw, in May.

The 20-acre site is in the Thet Gyi Kyun plantation in Oaktaya Thiri Township.

It has seven elephants, including two babies, and 21 staff. Plans are underway to open restaurants, recreation centres and gift shops. Accommodation is not available.

The entrance fee will be Ks1,000 for Burmese visitors and Ks2,000 for foreigners. There is an extra charge for an elephant ride. Rides are not available during the midday heat.

There will be lessons held on handling elephants.

Boat rides to the Nga Laik dam will be available. If the camp proves popular, more elephants will be retired from the timber felling work and sent to the camp.

Visits have already started with more than 150 visitors per day visiting the camp during the Thingyan holiday.

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Police, Army Provide Security After Deadly Elephant Rampage in Irrawaddy Division

PATHEIN, Irrawaddy Division — Police and Burma Army soldiers were brought in to provide security in Sin Puu Kone village of Irrawaddy Division’s Thabaung Township after two rampaging wild elephants killed a 59-year-old villager on Saturday morning.

Thabaung Township Police Force dispatched over 20 police officers to the village to work alongside the general administration department and forest department in response to the rampage that also damaged local farmland.

“The elephants are still near the forest outside the village—we could not scare them away,” chief of Thabaung Police Station police Capt. Myint Lwin told The Irrawaddy on Sunday. “We had to explode firecrackers at night to keep them away.”

U Than Win, 59, was trampled to death by the elephants on his way into the forest, he said.

Soldiers from the No. 308 Light Infantry Battalion of South-West Command initially joined police to provide security on Saturday, but left later in the evening.

“Police plan to scare the elephants away in collaboration with the forest department personnel and local residents,” said Thabaung Township Lower House lawmaker U Thein Tun.

“If that does not work, police will corner the wild elephants using the forest department’s tamed elephants ridden by skilled mahouts, anaesthetize the wild elephants, and transport them back to the forest,” he said.

Wild elephants often visit the villages of Thabaung, Ngapudaw, Ngwe Hsaung, and Chaungtha in the Irrawaddy Delta, adjacent to the western Pegu Mountain Range, during the hot and cool seasons in in search of food.

They often damage local race paddies and other crops and cause human casualties.

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Friday, April 14, 2017

People Are Sending Milk To Save This Baby Elephant From Starvation

Meet the elephant called Eyeyarmay. He stays at an elephant orphanage in Myanmar. Currently he is starving. Just look at him!

His story is going viral because Lek Chailert, the founder of Elephant Nature Park, an elephant sanctuary in Thailand posted about him on Facebook. Since Eyeyarmay’s mother couldn’t survive, he needs milk for nutrition.

Since it’s difficult to get elephant formula in Myanmar because the orphanage is new and it doesn’t have the money to import it, Eyeyarmay’s health is deteriorating day by day. There are also two other baby elephants, 7-month-old named Yuyu and a 4-month-old named Mary, but it’s Eyeyarmay’s health which needs the utmost importance.

People are moved by the sorry state of the elephant and are sending help in the form of elephant formula. To help Eyeyarmay, you can make a donation to the Save Elephant Foundation.

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Farmer Killed by Wild Elephant in Irrawaddy Division

PATHEIN, Irrawaddy Division — A local farmer was killed by a wild elephant in the beach resort of Ngwesaung in Pathein Township, Irrawaddy Division, on Sunday.

U Thaung Hla, 68, was walking back to his farm from Bu Kwe Gyi village at about 7 p.m. when the elephant stamped him to death, said Ngwesaung police. Locals did not retrieve the body until the morning for fear of the elephant. They took the body to Ngwesaung Hospital.

Wild elephants have killed four people in four months, according to locals in Ngwesaung, who say the animals have been in the area since December.

“Wild elephants have even entered the villages, destroyed fences and eaten banana trees,” said local U Hsan Shwe. “An elephant was hanging around a hotel construction site for hours a few days ago.

People here are always worried about the danger of elephants.”

Another local, Ko Win Swe, said the divisional government scared off wild elephants just once, in January, despite their requests for short- and long-term solutions to the problem.

“Elephants just come back,” he said. “If a village scares them off, they go to another village, and if that village scares them off, they move on to another, so that we never feel safe.”

Wild elephants live in the west of the Bago mountain range and during the harvest season they migrate to Pathein, Ngapudaw and Thabaung to eat rice and crops.

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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Elephants find a haven from poachers

A conservation camp for elephants who lost their jobs because of a logging ban in the Bago ranges has become a refuge for two young calves left motherless by poachers and disease.


TWO YOUNG elephants whose lives were disrupted by the untimely deaths of their mothers have found a safe and caring refuge at a camp housing pachyderms left unemployed by a logging ban in the Bago ranges.

Mary and Yu Yu Htay became friends after arriving within days of each other last month at the Winga Baw Elephant Conservation Camp, near Phayagyi in Bago Region’s Daik-U Township.

Mary, fondly named by camp staff because she was rescued on the eve of Christmas, grew up wild in jungle near the Ayeyarwady Region capital, Pathein.

A poacher killed Mary’s mother for her hide last December.

The distraught calf was found roaming with a herd of cows about five kilometres from where her mother’s body was found.

The cows’ owner alerted the Forest Department and it handed Mary to the care of the Winga Baw Elephant Conservation Camp on January 17.

“She is being nourished by milk formula,” U Myint Soe, the camp’s in-charge, told Frontier as he watched a keeper feed Mary, her dexterous trunk holding the feeding bottle.

After telling Mary’s story, Myint Soe introduced Yu Yu Htay, a playful five-month-old. The calf, who was three months old when her mother died of disease, arrived at the camp a few days before Mary.

“Yu Yu Htay has a friend now,” he said.

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Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Pho Kyar elephant camp faces difficulties attracting tourists

The Pho Kyar elephant camp is struggling to attract visitors, despite the country enjoying the high season for tourists.

The camp, in the foothills of the Bago Yoma mountain range, lies within tropical forest. It is 16 km from the town of Thargaya on the Yangon-Mandalay highway, 330 km from Yangon and 389 km from Mandalay. The camp was established in 2005 on 25 acres of land.

 The place has emerged as an attractive ecotourism spot and enjoys a spectacular location, surrounded by a meandering stream and full of the fragrance of wild orchids and seasonal flowers. For tourists, the trip provides an opportunity to visit an elephant village, where they can see the skilful manner in which the mahout communicates with his charge.

“Visitors can be seen on weekends but rarely so on week days. Most come in as families or in groups,” said an official in charge of the camp, Ye Myint.


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Saturday, February 18, 2017

Wild elephants kill 5 villagers in Myanmar’s northeast

YANGON, Myanmar

Five villagers have been killed by rampaging elephants in a village in Myanmar’s mountainous Shan State, authorities said Monday.

A herd of three elephants rampaged in Sint Kin village in Mong Mate Township of northeastern Shan before dawn Sunday, killing five villagers -- including a nine-year-old boy -- and destroying several houses, according to a local Forestry Department officer.

“Three women and a boy were killed by the elephants in the village,” Swe Thein told Anadolu Agency by phone Monday.

“A man was later found dead near a well outside the village,” he said, adding that the man was also killed by rampaging elephants.

Such deaths are not uncommon in rural areas in Myanmar, where deforestation has resulted in a rising number of conflicts between human residents and elephants. According to media reports, there were more than 70 such destructive encounters between wild elephants and residents from 2010-2016, leaving at least 15 people dead.

“Competition for land and food brings elephants into conflict with humans,” Swe Thein said.

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Friday, February 17, 2017

Demand for skin, meat and bones drives up elephant poaching in Myanmar

Demand for elephant parts, including but not limited to ivory, is causing a spike in poaching in Myanmar, the Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Forestry has said.

Natural and Wildlife Conservation Department director Win Naing Zaw told Eleven that the skin, meat and bones of Myanmar elephants are being smuggled abroad to be used in cosmetics, medicines and accessories, including hand bags.

“Something that is different in Myanmar compared to [poaching cases in] Africa is that the elephants here and around Asia also get skinned, dried and sold to neighboring countries such as China and Thailand. Elephant meat, snout and feet jerkies are now being sold there,” said Win Naing Zaw told Eleven.

He also previously told 7Day Daily that the concentration of international attention on the ivory trade out of Africa has afforded poachers more freedom to operate in Asia.

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Friday, February 10, 2017

Ex-timber elephants to be moved to Sagaing

A total of 176 elephants from soon to be defunct timber production works within Bago mountain ranges will be moved to Sagaing Region, according to the state-owned Myanmar Timber Enterprise.
About 360 elephants are used in the Bago timber camps with those remaining being put to work in eco-tourism.

Deputy General Manager Aye Cho Thaung from the timber enterprise said 15 elephants were already on their way to Homalin.

Projects have been undertaken to conserve Myanmar’s forests and wildlife, such as the decision to stop felling teak and mahogany in the current fiscal year and put a 10-year ban on timber felling in Bago's hills.

There also are projects to protect an estimated 2,000 to 3,000 wild elephants as well as increasing research efforts to combat poaching.

Poachers mostly sell elephant parts illegally through black market channels to Chinese and Thai buyers.

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Saturday, January 28, 2017

Rangoon’s Oldest Elephant Retires

RANGOON — After five decades entertaining visitors at the Rangoon Zoo shaking her hips to the beat in party outfits, the city zoo’s oldest elephant has been retired, said a zoo official.

The beloved 64-year-old Mo Mo was retired on her last birthday in October 2016; however, there was no official announcement from the zoo, and an official told media about her retirement at the zoo’s 111th-anniversary celebration from January 21-25.

Mo Mo is still being kept under the care of the Rangoon Zoo, said Ko Myo Kyaw Thu, the administrative manager of the Htoo Foundation’s zoo and garden business unit responsible for the management of the zoo on Tuesday.

She will be kept at the zoo until her last breath along with eight fellow friends—five females and three males, he added. Even though her keepers and mahouts have retired one after another, she remains healthy.

Born in 1953 and donated to the zoo by U Khoon Sandah from Karenni State’s Loikaw in 1961, Mo Mo has been so popular among the public—especially children—that she became an icon of the Rangoon Zoo and appeared in television commercials promoting the site.

Mo Mo also participated in parades held to mark the arrival of a Buddha tooth relic from China during the 1990s. The Rangoon Zoo began celebrating her birthdays annually when she turned 60.

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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Myanmar’s elephant camp turned into tourist attraction

YANGON, Jan. 16 (Xinhua) — The Thitgatoeaing Elephant Camp in Pathein-South, Myanmar’s Ayayawaddy region, has been turned into an elephant conservation camp for attracting tourists, the official Global New Light of Myanmar reported Monday.

Located on Pathein- Mawtin Road, only about one hour away from Pathein, the region’s capital, by car, the camp is also on the way to famous Ngwe Saung Beach, Goringi Beach Resort and Mawtinsun Pagoda.

Among the 18 elephants in the camp, six have been chosen for tourism as they are clever enough to pose photos with tourists who can also feed them and wash them as well as travel on them to study the natural environment of the camp.

Safety measures for tourists have also been taken, the report said.

The elephants at the camp once belonged to the state-run Myanmar Timber Enterprise and are now retired from logging activities. They were able to carry 2,000 logs a year through the region’s Sin Mon Forest.

The number of elephants from Bago and Ayeyawaddy regions are reportedly depleting as hunters target the animals for their ivory and skin for exporting for a high price

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Saturday, October 22, 2016

Chitwan Park breeding centre sees increase in elephant population

Number of elephants in the Khorsor Elephant Breeding Centre in Sauraha, Chitwan, has significantly increased, according officials.

The Khorsor Elephant Breeding Centre is part of the Chitwan National Park (CNP).

The CNP, spread over 935 square kilometres, is home to 57 elephants.  When the breeding centre was established in 1985, the CNP had brought 20 elephants from India, Thailand and Myanmar. Sixteen elephants were brought from India for which Nepal had given four one-horned rhinos, said Assistant Conservation Officer Nurendra Aryal.

According to the CNP, the number of elephants reached 37 in 16 years of the establishment of the breeding centre.

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Friday, January 11, 2013

Wild elephants trample rice fields in Pegu Township


Herds of wild elephants have destroyed no less than 200 acres of rice paddies in 50 villages in Pegu [Bago] Township over the past three months as they forage for food.

Mass timber production in the region, which lies just 50 miles north of Rangoon, has caused severe deforestation, resulting in many wild animals, including elephants, abandoning the forests to search for new habitats closer to villages.

Local farmers have reported to the local NLD representative that herds of between four and 20 elephants venture toward built-up areas mostly at night and trample through rice fields as they search for plants, legumes and grasses.

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Friday, September 28, 2012

Elephant retirement home set up in Burma


Updated: 09:29, Thursday August 16, 2012

Green Hill Valley in Kalaw township in Burma are hosting an elephant retirement home.

Their health problems range from blindness, difficulty walking and recovery from heart attacks.

These elephants were taken from the Ministry of Forestry and brought to their home, with the age of the elephants raning from 41 to 52.

'Each of them, you know, have their own little problems. For example, one has a problem with eyes and another elephant also has a problem with eyes, and one has a problem with the heart. Some of them were attacked by wild elephants in the forest so they got infections, so something like inflammatory or something like, so that you know we give something like medication by the instructions of vets,' Tin Maw, one of the managing directors of the camp said.

The people that run Green Hill valley say that if they can financially accommodate more elephants through raised revenue from tourism, they will bring in more ageing pachyderms.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Elephants attack cyclone-hit areas

The Associated Press
March 23, 2009
YANGON, Myanmar: Local media says wild elephants that lost their habitats in last year's devastating cyclone are destroying farm lands and attacking villagers as they forage for food.

The privately owned Weekly Eleven journal said Monday that wild elephants lost a swath of their habitat as Cyclone Nargis destroyed forests of the Rakhine mountain range in the southern tip of the Irrawaddy River delta.

The journal did not say whether villagers had been killed or injured in the attacks or if authorities were taking any preventive measures.

The area was the first hit by the cyclone on May 2, which left nearly 140,000 people dead or missing in the delta and other areas.

International and domestic operations to help survivors continue.

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Saturday, January 17, 2009

Illegal elephant trade flourishes in Burma: TRAFFIC

Salai Pi Pi, Mizzina
12 December 2008

New Delhi (Mizzima) – With at least 250 elephants and ivory being smuggled out of Burma in a decade, the Southeast Asian nation faces a sharp come down in its pachyderm population, a new report reveals.

The report, by the wildlife trade monitoring network, TRAFFIC, said being the centre of an illegal trade for elephants and ivory, Burma is losing out on precious animals to poachers and is subject to illegal trade, where elephants are sold mainly to neighbouring countries for 'Elephant Trekking'.

Chris R. Shepherd, TRAFFIC's Southeast Asia Senior Program Officer, said, "The elephant population in Myanmar [Burma] is declining due to poaching and illegal cross border trade."

Shepherd citing traders involved in the illegal trade, said most elephants are smuggled out to neighbouring Thailand, to be used in trekking in the tourism industry and for entertainment.

For the full story click on the title of the article

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Wildlife keepers warn against elephants tendency to move sanctuary

Xinhua
September 26, 2008

YANGON -- Wildlife keepers in Myanmar have warned against tendency of move of sanctuary of wild elephants from deep mountain range in western Rakhine state to agricultural field as elephant feed is running short there this year, the local Biweekly Eleven News reported Friday.

Such wild elephants are being found shifting from the May Yu mountain range bordering Bangladesh to agricultural farms with crop plantations of local farmers and destroying the plantations for the sake of feed, the report said, calling on the farmers to take measures to prevent the crop plantations from being spoiled out of the wildlife's move.

The report attributed the tendency of the elephants to the extinction of bamboo plantation in the Rakhine Yoma natural bamboo forest during this year which the elephants depend on for their feed.

Meanwhile, Myanmar has taken measures for elephant conservation by restricting the catching of such animal in the country's Bago Yoma mountain range in the central part where most of the elephants take sanctuary, other local report said.

In order to prevent elephant from extinction in the country, the Myanmar forestry authorities allowed catching of the wild elephants in the mountain range's Hlegu area only once in three years, prescribing the ratio of the elephants caught to be handed over to the authorities, according to the report.

Similarly, in the wake of tiger extinction threat, Myanmar wildlife police and forest rangers have also planned to step up combating wildlife trade and crimes in the tiger reserve and special training programs have been introduced jointly by the Myanmar forest ministry and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) .

With only 150 tigers reportedly remained alive in Myanmar's tiger reserve, tiger conservation is being undertaken in Hukaung Valley, the geographical condition of which creates a suitable place for survival of the tigers.

The Hukuang Tiger Reserve in Myanmar's northernmost Kachin state, which was established in 2004, covers an area of about 22, 000 square kilometers, and is claimed the largest of its kind in the world.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Burma Takes Measures for Wildlife Conservation

Xinhua (New China News Agency)
23 September 2008

Yangon [Rangoon], Sept. 23 (Xinhua) - Myanmar [Burma] has taken measures for wildlife conservation by restricting the catching of elephant in the country's Bago Yoma mountain range where most of the animal take sanctuary, the local Weekly Eleven journal reported Tuesday.

In order to prevent elephant from extinction in the country, the Myanmar forestry authorities allowed catching of the wild elephants in the mountain range's Hlegu area only once in three years, prescribing the ratio of the elephants caught to bhanded over to the authorities, according to the report.

Meanwhile, the authorities also called on the country's people to participate in the task for conservation of rare birds and wildlife to stabilize the ecosystem which faces collapse as in the world, singling out that there are only nine endangered species out of 144 in the world can be found in Myanmar.

Golden deer, one of the nine species in existence in Myanmar, are being protected in Chatthin Sanctuary in northwestern Sagaing division, the authorities said, adding that "though three kinds of species of the golden deer are found in South East Asia, there are now only Myanmar golden deer left".

Noting that the population of tigers worldwide gradually declines with tiger species being available in 13 countries only, the authorities said Myanmar is cooperating with seven other Asian nations in an effort to establish a tiger protection corridor which extends as 5,000 miles (8,000 kilometres) for endangered ones.

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Myanmar's wild elephants helping cut down their forest habitat

Agence France Presse
February 18, 2008

YANGON (AFP) — Elephants in Myanmar have long been invaluable labourers in the country's timber industry, nimbly finding their way through forests and dragging heavy fallen trees to rivers for shipping.

But as Myanmar's ruling junta expands logging in the country's teak forests, more wild elephants are being captured and trained for clear-cutting operations that destroy the very habitats in which they roamed freely, activists and industry insiders say.

"On account of the loss and fragmentation of their habitats, the size of the wild elephant population has declined," said Uga, chairman of local environmental group Biodiversity and Nature Conservation Association.

"To obtain elephant power for logging, wild elephants are being captured and recruited," said Uga, who uses only one name.

Employing elephants is normally more environmentally friendly than using heavy machinery, which requires roads cut into forests which cause more damage than elephants would.

About 4,500 elephants are believed to be working in the logging industry, including 2,500 owned by the state-run Myanmar Timber Enterprise (MTE), Uga said.

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Sunday, March 11, 2007

Villagers Killed by Elephants in Pegu Division

Villagers Killed by Elephants in Pegu Division
Shah Paung, Irrawaddy News
March 07, 2007

Villagers living near the Pegu Mountains in central Burma have complained that an increasing number of elephants moving through their village has left several people dead, rice and bean crops destroyed, and villagers with no recourse to justice.

Local residents say that earlier this week, a group of elephants came into Thayetgone village in Pegu Division and trampled a farmer. It’s not the first time the elephants have caused trouble in the area.

“These elephants have eaten or destroyed paddy and killed our villagers,” one local resident told The Irrawaddy on Wednesday. “People have to be very cautious because of them, especially when they are traveling in the village at night.”

The deaths and destruction are thought to be primarily the work of elephants from a nearby government forest reserve in the Pegu Mountains, and could have arrived at the village by following the course of the Pegu River, which originates near the reserve.

To read the full story click on the link in the blog title

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Report: Mining pollutes tiger reserve

Michael Casey, Seattle Post Intelligencer
January 10, 2007
BANGKOK, Thailand -- Myanmar's military junta is allowing gold mines to pollute the world's largest wild tiger reserve and has promoted development that is destroying ethnic Kachin communities, a report released Wednesday alleged.
The Kachin Development Networking Group, a coalition of NGOs, also accused the government of doubling its military presence in the Hukaung Valley in northwestern Myanmar. The government signed a peace pact with the separatist Kachin Independence Organization in 1994.
As part of that expansion, the military has confiscated a third of the farmland and scores of public buildings in and around the main town of Danai, the group said.
"Local residents had high hopes that peace would foster economic development and improve living conditions," the report said. "However, under the junta's increased control, the rich resources of the (Hukaung) valley have turned out to be a curse."

To read the full story click on the link in the blog title

Friday, October 13, 2006

Elephants threatened by landmines, says vet

Elephants threatened by landmines, says vet
SOMSAK SUKSAI
Bangkok Post
October 15, 2005 Lampang

More than 100 elephants hauling logs in Burma run the risk of losing their lives to landmines.

Veterinarian Preecha Puangkham, director of the medical section at Lampang's Elephant Hospital, said the number of elephants killed or maimed by landmines in the border area has increased, as hauling logs yields large incomes for the owners of the animals and their handlers, or mahouts. More than 100 elephants from Thailand have been taken to forest-rich Burma to haul logs. `

`Now, how can we help solve the problems faced by more than 100 elephants at risk of landmines in Burma? And how can we prevent people from taking elephants to work in that country? Cooperation from all sides, particularly elephant owners, is needed. They should pay more attention to the safety of the pachyderms than to their wages,'' said Dr Preecha. He raised the issue after two young female elephants, aged six and two years, were severely injured after stepping on a landmine in Burma. The explosion on Oct 5 mutilated six-year-old Mojay's right hind leg and Motoo's left front leg.

The animals were following their mother to haul logs in the Burmese forest opposite Tak's Tha Song Yang district when they stumbled on the landmine. The two pachyderms are now being treated at the Elephant Hospital. Dr Preecha said Motoo's injuries were worrying and she required intensive care. Mojay suffered wounds to her hind leg like Motala, another landmine victim, who was admitted to the hospital six years ago. After Mojay's wounds have healed, she might be fitted with an artificial leg, said Dr Preecha. Pasupo Wiangbanlue of Tak's Tha Song Yang district, the owner of the two injured elephants, said high wages drew him to take his elephants to work in Burma.

http://www.bangkokpost.com/News/15Oct2005_news14.php