2 Suspected Elephant Poachers Arrested in Irrawaddy, 3 Others at Large


Salai Thant Zin, The Irrawaddy

Date Published

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PATHEIN, Irrawaddy Division — Police in Irrawaddy Division have arrested two suspected members of an elephant poaching ring and are still searching for three others, including the gang’s leader.

“They are [part of] a five-member gang; we have arrested two, three others are on the loose with a percussion lock firearm and we are combing the forest for them,” police officer Win Htut of Tha Let Kwar Police Station in the divisional capital, Pathein, told The Irrawaddy on Monday.

On Jan. 1, police detained Maung Poe and Maung Chauk after they were sighted in the Chaungtha Forest Reserve. Their arrests led to the seizure of one Dayun motorbike, 66 pieces of elephant trunks and tails, dried elephant hide and a 13-inch butcher’s knife from suspect Maung Poe.

“As we interrogated Maung Poe, another one got away by motorbike,” said officer Win Htut. “We combed the forest and found a suspicious man wandering around near the ranger’s office in the forest at around 8:30pm. We interrogated him and found that he was also part of the gang.”

Police searched the area after the arrests and discovered a skinned elephant in a nearby creek, as well as a structure erected to cure the animal’s hide. The 32-year-old male elephant was eight feet, six inches tall, 12 feet long with a girth of 14 feet.

Additional elephant tails, poison and a syringe were also seized from the second suspect, Maung Chauk, upon his arrest.

All five suspects are residents of Ngape Township, Magwe Division, and the two men currently in custody will face charges under Burma’s Forest Law, police said.