Anti-Poaching Patrols in Myanmar

Why is this project important?

Since Myanmar opened up to international trade in 2012, it has become essential that its vast forest areas remain protected, elephants in them are surveyed, and their populations estimated. 

Elephant Family partnered 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.

The Myanmar Government does not have sufficient funds to pay for ranger patrols that are needed to secure their parks and wildlife sanctuaries against poaching. Rangers are up against armed illegal loggers and hunters who killed two elephants and burnt down the ranger station as a warning in 2014. Support from Elephant Family meant that elephant populations had a chance at a more secure future for the first time in decades.

Project Partner: Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) & Myanmar Forest Department

Project Duration: 2013 - 2016

Elephant population of Alaungdaw Kathapa National Park & Rakhine Yoma National Park: 400-450

Project goals

To raise national capacity for the monitoring and protection of wild Asian elephants and provide a source of sustainable employment for working elephants and mahouts at key sites in Myanmar.

What we do

Wildlife rangers are some of the bravest men in Myanmar who work with decommissioned logging elephants as Elephant Protection Units (EPUs) to trek deep into the jungle, rooting out illegal activity. In 2014 alone they reported 230 incidents that resulted in scores of arrests.

During September 2015, four EPU teams conducted patrols across the eastern side of Alaungdaw Kathapa National Park, which is a known hot-spot for illegal activities including teak and rosewood harvesting. Four EPU teams consisting of six rangers per team covered a total distance of nearly 1,400 kilometres in twenty days during their patrols. All data collected by the EPU teams is entered into the SMART software database and analysed. SMART is a globally adopted system for park monitoring and management, producing accurate reports to direct patrol efforts against illegal activity in protected areas.