Police, Army Provide Security After Deadly Elephant Rampage in Irrawaddy Division

By Salai Thant Zin 24 April 2017

PATHEIN, Irrawaddy Division — Police and Burma Army soldiers were brought in to provide security in Sin Puu Kone village of Irrawaddy Division’s Thabaung Township after two rampaging wild elephants killed a 59-year-old villager on Saturday morning.

Thabaung Township Police Force dispatched over 20 police officers to the village to work alongside the general administration department and forest department in response to the rampage that also damaged local farmland.

“The elephants are still near the forest outside the village—we could not scare them away,” chief of Thabaung Police Station police Capt. Myint Lwin told The Irrawaddy on Sunday. “We had to explode firecrackers at night to keep them away.”

U Than Win, 59, was trampled to death by the elephants on his way into the forest, he said.

Soldiers from the No. 308 Light Infantry Battalion of South-West Command initially joined police to provide security on Saturday, but left later in the evening.

“Police plan to scare the elephants away in collaboration with the forest department personnel and local residents,” said Thabaung Township Lower House lawmaker U Thein Tun.

“If that does not work, police will corner the wild elephants using the forest department’s tamed elephants ridden by skilled mahouts, anaesthetize the wild elephants, and transport them back to the forest,” he said.

Wild elephants often visit the villages of Thabaung, Ngapudaw, Ngwe Hsaung, and Chaungtha in the Irrawaddy Delta, adjacent to the western Pegu Mountain Range, during the hot and cool seasons in in search of food.

They often damage local race paddies and other crops and cause human casualties.