An estimated US$1.3 million worth of confiscated ivory and other parts of endangered wildlife were incinerated in Nay Pyi Taw yesterday.
In the first ever public event of this kind against the illicit trade, authorities set fire to pyres stacked with 277 ivory, 227 bones of elephant and other wildlife, 45 pieces of different wildlife skins, 1,544 different horns, 45.5 kilogram of pangolin scales, and 128 varieties of other wildlife parts, with a total weight of approximately 849.26 kilogram.
“Poaching and the illegal trade of wild animals in Myanmar have been increasing year by year,” said Union Minister for Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation U Ohn Win.
He also noted that Myanmar is losing its iconic national treasures —elephants, tigers, bears, pangolins and birds, in the name of profit and greed.
The objective of the country’s first ever public event is to send the message that trade in illegal wildlife parts, including illegal bush meat, is not acceptable.
A press release issued by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation stated that the confiscated items of wildlife were destroyed to raise public awareness for law enforcement on illegal trade of wild fauna and flora, for legal actions taken against illegal wildlife trading and poaching and for promoting international cooperation with Myanmar in fighting the illegal trade in wildlife.
Globally, the illegal wildlife trade is estimated to be worth over US$40 billion a year, run by crime syndicates involved in other organized crimes, including drugs, human and arms trafficking.
At the ceremony held in Nay Pyi Taw yesterday, except for a few items to be displayed at the elephant
museum, to serve as a constant reminder of the need to be vigilant against the illegal wildlife trade, all confiscated wildlife parts were set on fire.
Union Minister U Ohn Win said the ceremony is the beginning of the end for the illegal wildlife trade in Myanmar, pledging that Myanmar would end poaching, illegal hunting, collection and trading of wildlife.
Dr. Nyi Nyi Kyaw, Director-General of Forest Department, and Myanmar CITES (Convention on International Trade of Endangered Fauna and Flora) Management Authority said in a statement that rare wildlife, including Myanmar’s elephants,
tigers, bears and pangolins are natural heritage of Myanmar, saying that the wildlife are included and protected in the list of totally protected species.
Myanmar developed policies, laws, rules and regulations to ensure the protection and sustainability of the country’s rich biodiversity, wildlife, habitats and ecosystems.
In order to monitor and effectively combat poaching and illegal trade of wildlife plants and animals, the National Wildlife Law Enforcement Task Force was established in 2016 by the Union Government.