From The Guardian:
“Reported cases of killed elephants in Myanmar have increased dramatically since 2010, with a total of 112 wild elephant deaths, most of them in the past few years. In 2015 alone, 36 wild elephants were killed, according to official figures from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). The figures for 2016 are feared to be even worse.”
Myanmar, a poor country with plenty of government crises, has not devoted time and money to invest consistently in conservation. Although they did stop logging operations in 2014, they have been unsuccessful in protecting wildlife such as elephants from poachers.
With China banning the ivory trade, Myanmar has become a popular spot for Chinese to go to buy ivory and other elephant products such as the teeth, skin, and the penis. Most of these parts are used for “medicinal” purposes, although there is no solid scientific evidence rhino, elephant, or tiger parts really help treat illnesses. Any relief the patient feels after ingesting or rubbing such ointments onto the skin is likely only an expensive placebo effect that harms the environment.
Myanmar unfortunately has become a country where African elephant parts go to the market too. Groups such as TRAFFIC are trying to strengthen Myanmar border patrols to stop illegal wildlife trading.
Photo: taken at Elephant Nature Park