Projects in Myanmar
Myanmar is fast losing its wild elephants but has more potential habitat remaining than any other range country across Asia. It is estimated that there is more than twice the amount of potential elephant habitat in Myanmar than there is in India and Thailand combined.
Elephants and vast teak forests have been synonymous with Myanmar’s rich history, culture and economy for decades. Elephants are highly revered in Myanmar and are enshrined not only in the symbolism of the country but also within the workforce of the country’s logging industry. There are approximately 6,000 elephants in captivity in Myanmar – more than any other Asian country the majority of which are owned by the Myanmar Timber Enterprise (MTE).
Large areas urgently need surveying, as potential elephant habitat is at risk of deforestation, especially now that the country is more open to international trade. Conflicts between elephants and people living in areas converted for settlements and farming is becoming widespread. The survival of wild elephant populations is under enormous threat from poaching for ivory, skins and the smuggling of elephant calves into Thailand for the tourist trade.
In January 2017 Myanmar’s first-ever plan for elephant conservation took place in Naypyitaw, driven by eight government departments and agencies and supported by Elephant Family and other international NGOs. The plan outlined priorities to safeguard these iconic animals for future generations over the next 10 years, including engaging the public in the control of illegal poaching, trade and consumption of elephants and their parts.