Wild Elephants in Burma/Myanmar
Despite being second in the population rankings, Burma’s wild elephant numbers have dropped dramatically over the past 50 years and appear to still be in decline.
The major threats to the wild population are:
Wild Elephant Capture – Burma still uses trained elephants in its large-scale logging industry. Although the government officially banned wild capture in 1994, it is known to continue to fulfil the needs of the timber industry.
Habitat Loss and Fragmentation – Despite having the largest forest tracts of all, deforestation is taking place at an alarming rate. Although in theory Burma follows a policy of selective logging, evidence suggests that large areas are being cleared, much of which may be the result of illegal activity.
The shrinking and fragmentation of elephant habitat is placing increased pressure on the remaining elephant population.
Poaching – Poaching for ivory, meat and other elephant products only takes place on a very small scale in Burma, however poaching to capture elephant calves is known to be common place. The mother and often other members of the herd will fight to protect the calf and the hunters frequently resort to killing them. The calves are then smuggled in to Thailand for work in the tourist industry.