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Myanmar celebrates World Elephant Day with ban on wildlife sales and opening of elephant museum

YANGON (10th August, 2018): This World Elephant Day (August 12th), Myanmar is celebrating its national treasure through a proposed ban on the sale of elephant parts and the opening a new elephant museum.

“The new Protection of Biodiversity and Protected Areas Law clears up any ambiguity that trade in elephant parts is illegal. We applaud Yangon for starting a mass awareness programme against illegal wildlife trade and the regional government’s intention to end all illegal wildlife sales. Once the rules for the new law are in place we will be rolling out enforcement nationally, with particularly focus on Mandalay next,” said Dr Nyi Nyi Kyaw, Director General, Forest Department.

Myanmar is facing an unprecedented poaching crisis. 2017 saw a dramatic rise in elephant poaching and skinning – with at least one a week being killed and this week poachers were arresting having killed two tigers believed to have been from proposed Lenya National Park. The new law makes it illegal to poach or trade any completely protected species or species protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora - CITES.

As part of an awareness programme under the new law, the Forest Department is working with WWF to design an Elephant Museum in Yangon’s zoological garden, to be opened in November. The museum will showcase the role of wild and working elephants in Myanmar’s history, the threats they face today and measures being taken to ensure their survival.

“Enforcement and awareness must go hand in hand if we are to avoid museums being the only place to see wildlife. With strong enforcement Myanmar stands to emerge as a regional leader ahead of the London Conference on Illegal Wildlife Trade,” said Christy Williams, Country Director, WWF-Myanmar.

The London Conference on Illegal Wildlife Trade, takes place on 10-11 October 2018. Hosted by the UK Government the conference is the fourth in a series of state-led conferences on illegal wildlife trade, which started in London in 2014.

Following the VOICES FOR MOMOS campaign Yangon agreed to end all illegal wildlife sales. A recent survey of Shwe Dagon Pagoda and Bogyoke Market in Yangon found no illegal wildlife items for sale in Shwe Dagon but items still available in Bogyoke. Elephant skin, tail hairs, teeth and ivory are sold at Golden Rock (Kyaiktiyo Pagoda in Mon State), and ivory is sold in Mandalay. There are also large illegal wildlife markets along the border regions of China, Myanmar, Laos and Thailand – an area known as the ‘Golden Triangle’.


About WWF WWF is one of the world's largest and most respected independent conservation organizations, with over 5 million supporters and a global network active in over 100 countries. WWF's mission is to stop the degradation of the Earth's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world's biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption. WWF-Myanmar opened in 2014. Its work programmes include wildlife, habitats, green economy, renewal energy, and sustainable business.

WWF stands for the World Wide Fund for Nature (previously known as the World Wildlife Fund)

Media contact: Saw Linn Htet, Communications Officer, WWF-Myanmar.
Email: sawlinn.htet@wwf.org.mm, Ph: 09 796300839.