As Myanmar (Burma) opens up to international trade, it is essential that its vast forest areas – and potential elephant habitat – are protected, the elephants in them surveyed, and their populations estimated.
Fortunately, the Myanmar Forest Department is already taking steps to protect wild elephants through law enforcement and conservation measures, including the creation of Managed Elephant Ranges that connect habitat and secure corridors within elephant landscapes.
Elephant Family is partnering with the Wildlife Conservation Society, which has been working in Myanmar for over a decade and is supporting the Myanmar Forest Department to strengthen its existing systems of law enforcement for the protection of elephants and their habitats. At Alaungdaw Kathapa National Park and the Rakhine Yoma Elephant Range – both key MIKE sites (“Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants” under the auspices of CITES) – ranger teams will be organised into Elephant Protection Units and provided with uniforms, equipment and other resources to conduct patrolling throughout the year. Law enforcement monitoring will be introduced to comply with CITES provisions, and the distribution and threats to elephant populations will be mapped.
To protect and monitor elephant populations in Myanmar through maintaining and strengthening ranger protection teams
Rangers have been equipped with the tools they need to conduct patrols and enforce the law; short patrol and long patrol backpacks, headlights, flashlights, leech socks, and raincoats have all been provided. A database for recording patrol data has also been set up, which will prove vital for accurate reporting to the MIKE programme, and provide an opportunity for Myanmar to showcase its elephant conservation and management activities.
35 rangers were trained in law enforcement monitoring in October 2013, including the 23 that were assigned to new Elephant Protection Units. During the patrol exercises,