Myanmar’s weak law for endangered elephant makes them more vulnerable


Wild elephant, the endangered animal of Myanmar is getting hunted on a regular basis, although the law has been signed to Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), making the hunting illegal in that country but the activities prove that the citizens are not taking it seriously. Reason being – the poor enforcement of the law. Anyone who is found violating it, is taken a fine of maximum $60, which does not develop any kind of sense of fear in the traders as the profit that they earn is a lot higher than this small amount.

The count of elephants in Myanmar have dropped to almost half in just a decade leaving 2,000-3,000 elephants alive. The trading takes place in the most renowned part of the country at Golden Rock. The area has various shops that sell skin of elephant along with teeth of tiger and oil from bears. They attract customers by telling them that the skin of the endangered animal cures eczema and tell them the way they are supposed to use it. “You burn pieces of skin by putting them in a clay pot. Then you get the ash and mix it with coconut oil to apply on the eczema” said a shopkeeper while selling it for 5,000 kyat ($3.65) per square inch.

The tusk of elephant is also sold by them in the form of paste. For the paste they claim that it cures pimples and dark spots, making the skin smooth. However, the experts say that these are just false statements made by them for selling their products and science has not proved anything like that.

And the killing just doesn’t stop here. China is said to have a liking for the exotic animals, so Myanmar sells a large amount of tusk to China making millions of dollars a year. The exporting is the same for Thailand, the country attracts tourists from the endangered species.

“We’re in the middle of a crisis. If we’re losing this number it can’t be too many more years be­fore wild elephants are gone,” said Antony Lynam, regional advi­ser at the Wildlife Conservation Society. According to him, if the killing continues at such an alarming rate then the animal will soon disappear.

The cases that are registered for this crime are very low, pointing out to the lack of political will. The government has finally taken a pledge to make the law more powerful and stop the killing and exporting.

About the author

Shivangi Sharma

Shivangi Sharma is a budding journalist who intends to build a bright career in the media industry. She is a health freak who loves to cover the latest news on health studies, besides science behind them.

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