Elephant conservation zones to be expanded: ministry (Myanmar)



Date Published

The Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Forestry says more expansion is planned for conservation zones of wild elephants.

Around 5.75 per cent of the country is set aside for natural reserves and 11 new areas representing 1.41 per cent of the nation have been proposed as natural reserves.

Myanmar has 39 sanctuaries for wildlife, including six especially for wild elephants.

Although wild elephants inhabit Rakhine State, Kachin State and Tanintharyi Region, there are no official sanctuaries for them.

The ministry says it is prioritising the protection of elephants and will take strict action against elephant poaching, which is particularly rampant in Yangon, Bago and Ayeyarwady regions.

Official figures estimate the country has lost 133 wild elephants, mainly due to poaching and sickness from 2010 to 2016.

It is estimated that there are between 2,000 and 3,000 wild elephants left as deforestation removes their habitats.

Myanmar’s first wild elephant protection project is being drafted in cooperation with international organisations in order to stop poaching and the trade in elephant parts.

Under the current law, poachers or illegal smugglers of wild elephants may face up to seven years in prison.