Following the publication of the MECAP, and the Voices for Momos campaign, there has been greater focus and awareness around Elephant poaching. The CID (Criminal Investigation Department) was directly assigned by the Ministry of Home Affairs. They organized a team to trace illegal wildlife trade and they traced the source from the killing of Elephants in Ayeyarwady Division. The Police have done investigation and taken coordinated action in 3 separate Divisions in the last week. Six men have been arrested and charged.
7 June: Ban Bwegone, Myan Aung Township Ayeyarwaddy Division
9 June: Pyay, Bago Division
9-10 June: Mandalay - was found to be the main location for wholesale trade.
On 9th June, Myanmar Police and Forest Department seized at Chan Mya Tharzi Township, Mandalay Division:
708 kilograms of Gaur horn,
667 kilograms of deer horn,
421 kilograms of Sambar horn,
12.4 kilograms of Serow horn,
9.8 Kilograms of Elephant skin,
4 cat skin, 4 barking deer skin, 1 snake skin, and 8 kilograms of 10 other wildlife heads.
The owner claimed that he bought officially with bid form Custom Department. However during investigation, he was not able to show any single document. On 11th June 2018, the organized IWT trace team investigated again to the respondent house and found 2 bags of total cash amount MMK 93,400,000 (71,000 USD). At the same time, the team found out 3 Gaur horns, 7 deer horns and 28 Sambar horn hanging on the wall.
In other raids: elephant hides, antlers of numerous deer species, bison horns, turtle shells and flesh, porcupine quills, bear bones, claws, and paws, and skulls of a variety of wild animals.Police and Forest Department are continuing to trace the source of the material for follow up investigation and punishment.
“Due to the market demands of neighbouring countries, there are many people storing and trading these (wildlife parts),” said U Khin Maung Myint, Director of Forestry Department of Ayeyarwaddy Region. “This market emerged as the horns and hides of the animal are hung on the walls for decorative purposes, made into hand wear accessories, and mixed with other medicinal roots for medicine.”
WCS is now collaborating with Forest Department in Mandalay on inventory of seizure and species identification. We will compile the confiscated wildlife parts from Mandalay after listing. All the confiscated are very large, with seizures in Mandalay the highest. We will closely follow these cases. WCS has met the CID Officer in charge of this case and discussed with him. He would like to work with us (Forest Department and WCS ) sharing information, collarboration to stop illegal wildlife trade. We will follow-up after the case is closed – they area still working on this case to follow up the leads.