Police Raid Elephant Poaching Ring in Irrawaddy Division (Burma)


Salai Thant Zin, The Irrawaddy

Date Published


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Authorities apprehended a member of an elephant poaching ring on Wednesday near Bhamo Creek in Irrawaddy Division’s Myittaya forest reserve while three other members managed to escape.

“We raided the poaching ring at night while they were asleep, after they had heated the elephant meat [to preserve it]. Police tried to grab their guns because they were loaded. But, they woke up and three of them got away amid gunfire. A forest police officer grabbed the other one,” said Ngapudaw Township ranger Win Zaw, who took part in the raid.

Acting on a tip from locals, forest police force second lieutenant Hein Zaw Tun, Ngapudaw sub-township police station commander lieutenant Kyaw Zin Aung, ranger Win Zaw and a village administrator teamed up and followed the poaching ring for three days in the forest before finally conducting the raid on Wednesday night.

The poacher, who is from Ngaphe Township, was arrested with two percussion lock firearms, gunpowder, poison, elephant hides, elephant meat and two tusks, according to the Ngapudaw Forestry Department.

The three escapees were also from Ngaphe Township and police are still after them, said Win Zaw.

“Poaching rings usually include four to five people with at least two to three guns. They kill elephants and transport the tusks, hide and meat to Mandalay,” he added.

The Forestry Department will prosecute the arrested poacher under laws protecting wildlife and natural areas.

A local police station in Pathein Township also raided a five-member poaching ring from Ngaphe Township in January. Police arrested two members, but three others—including the ringleader—escaped.