Pathology Training for Elephant Veterinarians

Why is this project important?

Myanmar has the largest area of remaining elephant habitat of all range countries, but elephant numbers in the country are plummeting. Across their range, wild elephants are at risk of poaching, and of diseases such as tuberculosis and elephant herpes virus, which are transmitted from captive to wild populations. In Myanmar, captive elephants are free to forage in the forest at night, increasing this risk of transmission. The developing trade in elephant skin is also taking its toll on the remaining elephant population in the country. When deceased elephants are found, it is imperative to understand the cause of death in order to develop methods to counter such losses. But there are currently no vets within Myanmar with the training needed to undertake elephant post-mortem examinations.

Project Partners: Elephant Care International

Project Duration: 2019

Elephant population of Myanmar: c. 2,000

Project goals

To build capacity among Myanmar’s vets, enabling them to undertake elephant post-mortem examinations, generating the information necessary to counter such losses.

What we do

For the first time, a Pathology Workshop is being convened in Myanmar specifically aimed at training vets to carry out elephant post-mortems. Practical, hands-on training will enable a new generation of vets to gain the skills they need to undertake systematic post-mortems, providing vital information to inform policy decisions addressing the causes of elephant deaths. Elephant Family is supporting an in-country team to convene the workshop, including Khyne U Mar, a previous recipient of Elephant Family funding as a veterinary consultant for our welfare work from 2005-2012. We’re also providing pathology backpacks, complete with equipment, instruments, and sample collection vials that will be distributed to those attending the training.