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Another elephant found slain by poachers

Forestry officials in Gwa Township, Arakan State, examine the body of an elephant killed on 15 July 2016. (Photo: DVB)

Police in Pegu Division say they have recovered the body of a wild elephant that died of gunshot wounds late last week, in the second such incident reported in Burma since the middle of July.

The elephant, an adult male, was found on Friday in Yenwe Creek in Pegu’s Kyauktaga Township, according to a state media report. Local forestry officials said that an employee of the nearby Yenwe Hydropower dam had earlier reported hearing the cry of an elephant in the area.

The body was found in the river and had to be pulled out using motorboats, the report said. The elephant’s tusks were apparently still intact, possibly because the poachers had been unable to cut them off in the water.

Kyauktaga is in Taungoo District, an area famed for it elephant population. However, due to deforestation, the number of wild elephants has declined in the Pegu Yoma mountain range, where a 10-year moratorium on logging was declared at the beginning of June.

Last week’s discovery comes exactly two weeks after officials in Arakan State’s Gwa Township found the body of another elephant that had been killed by poachers.

On 15 July, local residents informed forestry officials that they had spotted a dead elephant near the Gwa-Nga Thaing Chaung road, which traverses the southern end of the Arakan Yoma mountain range near several protected forests.

The elephant’s tusks had been removed and some of the skin had been sliced off of its back.

“Poachers using poisoned darts killed the elephant,” Zaw Lin Thant, of the Gwa Township Forestry Department, told DVB. “We believe there were three to five people involved, as they were carrying enough equipment to butcher the elephant.”

Poaching and wildlife trafficking are growing problems in Burma, fueled largely by demand for wild animals and animal parts in neighbouring countries.