The Irrawaddy

Farmer Killed by Wild Elephant in Irrawaddy Division

The scene where U Thaung Hla was killed by the elephant. (Photo: Salai Thant Zin/The Irrawaddy)

PATHEIN, Irrawaddy Division — A local farmer was killed by a wild elephant in the beach resort of Ngwesaung in Pathein Township, Irrawaddy Division, on Sunday.

U Thaung Hla, 68, was walking back to his farm from Bu Kwe Gyi village at about 7 p.m. when the elephant stamped him to death, said Ngwesaung police. Locals did not retrieve the body until the morning for fear of the elephant. They took the body to Ngwesaung Hospital.

Wild elephants have killed four people in four months, according to locals in Ngwesaung, who say the animals have been in the area since December.

“Wild elephants have even entered the villages, destroyed fences and eaten banana trees,” said local U Hsan Shwe. “An elephant was hanging around a hotel construction site for hours a few days ago.

People here are always worried about the danger of elephants.”

Another local, Ko Win Swe, said the divisional government scared off wild elephants just once, in January, despite their requests for short- and long-term solutions to the problem.

“Elephants just come back,” he said. “If a village scares them off, they go to another village, and if that village scares them off, they move on to another, so that we never feel safe.”

Wild elephants live in the west of the Bago mountain range and during the harvest season they migrate to Pathein, Ngapudaw and Thabaung to eat rice and crops.