Six Elephants in Kyaukpadaung to be Helped Home

By Lawi Weng 27 August 2015

Forestry department officials said on Thursday that six elephants currently in the area of Mandalay Division’s Kyaukpadaung Township will be herded back to their native abode in the Pegu Yoma jungle near Natmauk, Magwe Division, after a man was killed and three others injured in an incident on Tuesday.

“We are preparing to take them back slowly. We will not harm them and will let them walk back naturally. We have talked to our officers already and we will start our plan to send them back soon,” said Sithu Won Tun, a forestry department officer from Natmauk.

According to Sithu Won Tun, officials had first planned to tranquilize the elephants using chloroform but ultimately opted for a less intrusive course of action.

The elephants will be herded the over 60 miles distance to the jungle near Natmauk with the help of several tame elephants.

The rescue team searched all day for the wild pachyderms in the Kyaukpadaung jungle on Wednesday before finally locating them at around 6 pm.

Sithu Won Tun said his team had been forced to climb trees to seek cover on several occasions as the elephants approached them.

Authorities are informing and educating locals along the route the elephants will be driven, Sithu Won Tun said.

“We have told the local people not to follow the elephants when we are sending them back and not to make any noise” that would disturb them, he said.

One person was killed and three others injured on Tuesday after they approached the elephants and tried to take photos in Kyaukpadaung.

Ah Kar Min, a local journalist with the Democratic Voice of Burma, said he had seen the elephants in the course of his reporting over the last four days.

“They do not seem to want to harm people and don’t even destroy locals’ gardens,” he said.

The state-run Global New Light of Myanmar reported on Tuesday that President Thein Sein had agreed that the elephants should be herded away from populated areas.

The community-based group, the Popa Lovers Association, said in a Facebook post on Tuesday that the six elephants were like refugees who had been forced from their usual habitat in the jungle to find a new sanctuary.

The group said it was sad to see locals chase and frighten them.