Myanmar Elephant

The Myanmar Elephant

The fight for the elephant's survival in Burma is crucial to the future of the species. Scientists and partners of the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute follow the wild elephants of Myanmar in this three-part video series. Myanmar eelephants are getting a frightening new twist on their skins.



The post-doctoral student at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute has been working with a research group for three years to follow Asiatic cats in Myanmar with the help of GPS Collar. Many of these elefants began to fall off the ladder after attaching GPS necklaces to 19 of them. It was frightening what the crew found when they examined elephant signs that had not moved:

Kadavers scattered in the jungles, killing and rot. They' re being flayed. Seven 11-year old cats that the crew had marked were killed within a year of trying on a necklace. As Burma's staff began asking the locals a question, they discovered that they had accidentally discovered a worrying new problem: these bulls were illegally picked up for theirskins.

It is no mystery that mankind' s desire for ivories has reduced the number of Africans. The number of savannah inhabitants has fallen by 30 per cent in the last seven years, and the number of wood elephant species has fallen by 62 per cent between 2002 and 2013. In addition, the Arecent report found that 90 per cent of the market's ivories come from animals that have been killed for less than three years, proving that the continuing illegal activity is closely related to the elephant crises in Africa.

However, what the explorers found in Myanmar was not ivories. The majority of the found corpses did not even have canines. One part of the why wilderness is not so big in Asia is that fangs are not so frequent in Asiatic cats. They only have 25-30% of asiatic elephant males have tooth-teeth ('percentages differ by region') and no males.

This means that even the poacher of poaching in ivories usually spares female breeders and veal that do not mature for years. And, because the elephant is polygonal, survivors can help to fill the reproduction gap for the dead, which avoids the immersion of numbers. However, if elephant hide becomes a coveted material like ivories, this could be changed.

In order to address the problem of the elephant man fighting, the field trapped and marked elephant in areas where such disputes are more frequent, such as paddy fields and sugar cane or vegetable paddyards. Then they followed the movement of each elephant by the hours and created cards to better understanding how men and women of different age use the countryside during the days and nights.

"However, in recent years (since the start of the trial in 2014) we have begun to see how many of our animals have fallen off the card in quite an appalling way," says McEvoy. "Over a time span of less than two years, at least 19 people were murdered in one of 13 cases.

The Myanmar government's environmentalists and a fellowship programme entitled Human-elephant Peace then gathered information from patrolmen and informers throughout southern Centrally Myanmar and found the same troubling history - the decaying corpses of corpses of dead, flayed cattle. The SCBI is not the only organisation that uncovers proof of a nascent elephant hide deal. The British nature protection organisation Elephant Family found worrying indications in an inquiry into the living elephant trafficking between Myanmar and Thailand in 2016.

"It was the first time that we knew that hide was a product," says Belinda Stewart-Cox, deputy director of the conservation group. This NGO recently announced that they found elephant hide for almost 29 dollars a Pound for purchase in the frontier city of Mong La in Myanmar, China, and that over 900 lbs of elephant hide have been confiscated at Lianghe, a southwest Chinese frontier crossroad.

But while she knew very well that Myanmar's bulls were slaughtered for her hide, Stewart-Cox says she was also astounded by the extent of the issue set out in the new story. But why would anyone want elephant hide to die for it? It turns out that it is one of the many livestock based ingredients used in ancient China medicines.

It is milled into a pulverized product and blended into a compound that is thought to be used to cure fungal infections, as well as bowel disease. "Stewart-Cox also transforms the hide into pearls and wristbands or chains that have certain characteristics that are advantageous for the wearer's hide," says Stewart-Cox.

In spite of the elephant's huge height, a number of Mexican authorities told McEvoy and coworkers that the flesh business is dominant with snout and genitals. To slaughter an elephant and bring its hide and flesh to fast marketing is not an easy work. The Burmese working with the crew say that the woachers are organised and well financed and that elephant flesh and hides are quickly finding their way across the Chinese frontier, where a growth in trading in ivory and elephant parts is recorded.

It is not clear at this point how big the issue is, says Alex Diment, an environmentalist and chief technology consultant for the Wildlife Conservation Society's Myanmar programme. There seems to be an increase in the number of elephant that are being picked for the hide, but some of this could be due to intensified communications in Myanmar. In 2017, according to official records, 59 11 cats were found alive, most of them having been beaten.

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