PATHEIN, Irrawaddy Region — A wild elephant was hunted and killed with a poisoned bolt—an arrow shot from a crossbow—in the village tract of Tin Chaung in Irrawaddy Region’s Ngapudaw Township.
Following a report from locals, a combined team from the Forestry Department, Livestock Breeding and Veterinary Department, police, forestry police and administrative authorities searched the forest and found the dying elephant near the village of Yawn Yin on Friday.
“After it was reported, we searched for and found the poisoned elephant. It had not died yet and the poachers were likely waiting for it to die. We had to flee at one point when it tried to attack but it died later in the evening,” head of Ngapudaw Township Forestry Department U Tin Soe told The Irrawaddy.
The black female elephant was 26 years old, 7.6 feet long, 15 feet in circumference, and its trunk was 4.8 feet long. A 16-inch poisoned bolt was found in its shoulder.
Nine elephants have been killed by poachers in Irrawaddy Region as of January, all by poisoned bolts, according to the Irrawaddy Region Police Force.
Forest reserves in Pathein, Ngapudaw and Thabaung townships in Pathein District are home to wild elephants.
Poachers take the tusks, hide, flesh, and tails from hunted elephants and sell them to smugglers along the Pathein-Mawtin road. From there, smugglers take the items via the Pathein-Monywa road to Mandalay Region, where they smuggle them into China via the Mandalay-Muse road.
The majority of the elephant poachers have been from Minbu, Ngape, and Sidoktaya townships in Magwe Region, according to the Irrawaddy Region Police Force.
“We’ve opened a case at the police station, and we are working to find the poachers,” said U Tin Soe.
Locals have suggested conducting routine security patrols around the forest and installing inspection gates along the route to prevent poaching.
Last year, poachers killed 13 wild elephants in the region and police arrested hunters in four of the cases. They are still investigating six cases and closed three cases, as they could not identify the poachers.
Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko