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.

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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.

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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

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
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.