Two members of an elephant-poaching gang have been arrested in Ngapudaw township in Ayeyarwady Region’s Pathein district, but at least one other person associated with the group remains at large, the Department of Forestry said in a statement released yesterday.
The investigation started when locals from Supate village witnessed three men armed with guns hacking a dead elephant near Supate Creek within the boundaries of Myittayar Forest Reserve.
The statement said the Department of Forestry, under the Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Forestry, launched an investigation on September 18 with help from local police and residents of Supate village.
Their efforts resulted in the arrest on September 29 of Ko A Tun, aka Ko Thet Naing Tun, who had acted as a guide for the poachers. He was detained by police at Thittobin station near mile post 46/2 on the Pathein highway, and taken to Ngapudaw police station where he remains incarcerated, the statement said.
Meanwhile, the investigation continued and led authorities to Ko Kyaw Win, who was arrested on October 10.
U Win Naing Thaw, director general of the department’s Nature and Wildlife Conservation Division, told The Myanmar Times yesterday that the two men have been charged under section 37(a) of the Protection of Wildlife and Conservation of Natural Areas Law.
“We have arrested these two men, and we are continuing our efforts to find and arrest others involved in the poaching gang,” he said, adding that the department does not yet know how many elephants the group is responsible for killing.
Elephant poachers in Myanmar mostly sell ivory to China and Thailand through illegal channels, with a single tusk bringing in thousands of US dollars.
Last year a group of seven elephant poachers was arrested in Ngapudaw township. They were found in possession of four ivory tusks weighing 36 to 54 pounds (16 to 25 kilograms), each valued at about K6 million (US$4657).