Breaking! $1.3 Million Worth Of Illegal Wildlife Parts Were Burned In Myanmar; Opposition Grows As Trafficking & Trade Into China Escalates

Photo from AFP via Arab News

Two days after Save The Elephants released its new research that reflected Myanmar’s growing illegal ivory trade with China, comes news that a massive and symbolic demonstration took place today at the Southeast Asian nation which borders India, Bangladesh, China, Laos, and Thailand.

Despite the fact that Myanmar is a signatory to CITES, which means that any hunting of wildlife is illegal in the country, trafficking and selling endangered animals remains rampant, particularly in border areas which serve as a key hub in the $20 billion a year global wildlife trade.

Today though, a reported $1.3 million worth of illegal wildlife, including elephant parts and skins, clouded leopard remains, tiger bones, antelope antlers, and pangolin scales, were among the items incinerated in Myanmar’s first public event of this kind in opposition of the illicit trade. The demonstration and burning of the items took place at a government compound in the capital, Naypyitaw.

U Win Naing Thaw, director of the Nature and Wildlife Conservation
Department, said prior to the event that they did not plan to burn all of illegal wildlife, as some will be kept in a museum.

Meanwhile, the Forest Department (FD) in Myanmar is responsible for protection and conservation of the wildlife and sustainable management of the forest resources of the whole country.

“Rare wildlife including Myanmar’s elephants, tigers, bears and pangolins are the natural heritage of our country,” Nyi Nyi Kyaw, director general of the Forest Department, reportedly said in a statement that was referenced by numerous outlets including Arab News.

He noted in particular, concern over an alarming increase in elephant poaching by gangs who have moved from southern Myanmar into the northern and western regions of Rakhine.

Nyi Nyi Kyaw stated that the Forest Department would “take action” and confiscate the poachers’ weapons whenever possible, sharing that the department has new forensic kits to help identify fingerprints from seized ivory.

Some critics, on the other hand, are more concerned about the government’s apparent lack of political fortitude to tackle a sophisticated network of criminals who are thought to be armed and funded by powerful “kingpins” in China.

Every person who is involved in this travesty is someone that should not only be feared, but stopped!

According to the recently released report from Save The Elephants, Myanmar’s Growing Illegal Ivory Trade with China, one town in particular, Mong La, a frontier town in the notorious Golden Triangle on the border of China, has experienced a ‘prolific growth’ in ivory trading. The number of new ivory items seen for sale in the town grew by 63% in three years, and now accounts for over a third of the ivory in the country.

As per the report, Myanmar has the largest captive or ‘domestic’ elephant population in the world, with more than 5,000 individuals.

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