The inauguration of Elephants Lake camp, which will become one of the biggest elephant camps in Southeast Asia, was held west of milepost No. 83 on the Yangon-Mandalay Highway on 1 May.
The ceremony was attended by Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation Union Minister U Ohn Win; Bago Region Government Chief Minister U Win Thein and the Hluttaw representatives; officials from the related departments; Helmut Dunglen, CEO of Four Paws International; Dr. Phone Win, CEO of Mingalar Myanmar; and other officials.
This decade, the number of wild elephants has declined significantly. Of the 5,000 elephants owned by the Myanma Timber Enterprise and private enterprises, some were left idle after the Myanma Timber Enterprise suspended logging. Therefore, the Elephants Lake camp was opened to protect elephants from poaching and illegal trade to neighbouring countries.
The Elephants Lake camp will conserve elephants naturally without tethering their legs to chains and protect old, injured, pregnant, disabled, injured and newborn baby elephants.
“Recently, we introduced the elephant conservation programme. It will take time. If our conservation system is successful, the elephants can stay freely,” said Dr. Phone Win, CEO of Mingalar Myanmar.
Moreover, we are planning to implement mobile elephant clinics to provide treatment to injured elephants and other animals. Also, an elephant medical treatment centre will be constructed in the Elephants Lake camp. Further, plans are on to conduct wild elephant and animal conservation, rescue and research, capacity building for the locals and mahouts, upgrade their living standards and increase their income.
To implement the Elephants Lake camp, the Myanma Timber Enterprise will provide elephants, while the Forestry Department will grant permission to use the land. Mingalar Myanmar will provide social development assistance to the local people and mahouts.
The authorities are planning to conserve some 300 elephants within 10 years. The Elephants Lake camp is being constructed on more than 17,000 hectares in Ye Nwe forest reserve.
Initially, a security department will be constructed. Then, the elephant medical treatment centre will be constructed. On completion of the Elephants Lake camp, the authorities will implement an eco-tourism project to attract local and foreign visitors.
By Khin Zar Li