Elephant deaths could be linked to poachers (Myanmar)


Kyaw Ko Ko, Myanmar Times

Date Published

See link for photo.  

Wild elephants inhabiting the forests near Thabeikkyin township in Pyin Oo Lwin district, Mandalay Region, are being killed.

Hit by a poisoned arrow, the elephant is being treated for its injuries. Photo – Supplied

According to U Sai Nyi Nyi, who is the officer in charge from the 9th Mile village frontier camp of Thabeikkyin township wildlife conservation, one wild elephant was killed on May 3 and the other on May 6.

Speaking to The Myanmar Times on Sunday, U Sai Nyi Nyi said the two elephants had been shot by firearms.

A third elephant, he said, was hit by a poisoned arrow on May 10 and is being treated for its injuries.

“We have seen wild elephants being killed in the Shwe U Daung wildlife sanctuary and nearby forest areas. Two wild elephants had been found dead but one that was shot by a poisoned arrow is alive and its injuries are healing after receiving treatment.

“Now, we have to monitor this elephant’s health condition by sending people into the forest to observe. It is not clear why elephants are being killed.

“One possible reason is because ivory is an expensive item on the black market elephants are being killed,” said U Sai Nyi Nyi.

He said that on May 3, they spotted a dead elephant seven miles away from east of Ohn Paing village near Shwe U Daung wildlife sanctuary.

Another wild elephant was found dead on May 6 in Sat Pae Nago village tract.

The elephant that was shot by a poisoned arrow was found near the 7th Mile village of Thabeikkyin township.

U Sai Nyi Nyi added that one of the two dead elephants was female and it was difficult to identify the gender of the other one as it was cut into pieces.

“The elephant was in a bad state of decay when we found it. It was difficult to distinguish the carcass as it was cut up.

“The head was missing and we cannot say if it had any tusks. The elephant that we are treating now is about 25 years old,” he said.

He said that there are 20 elephant in the forests of Thabeikkyin village.

An account has to be made of the number of elephants in the forest by employing trained workers and specialised techniques in order to get an accurate picture, he said.

The forestry department, police force and respective general administrators are cooperating in trying to nab the elephant poachers.

Although elephant poachers have not been arrested, they can be charged under section 37(a) of the Protection of Wildlife and Conservation of Natural Areas Act.