Elephants face food scarcity in Hukawng Valley

San Lat / May 14, 2020

Elephant consuming banana tree-Hkun Lat

The owners of domesticated elephants in Kamaing and Danai Towns of western Kachin State have shown frustration over the shortage of food for their elephants due to the shrinking pasture land caused by the deteriorating environmental conditions in Hukawng Valley.

The lack of Burmese government plans to secure the pasture land for elephants, the climate change, the illegal logging and mining in Hukawng valley are the main cause of food scarcity for the elephants, according to an elephant owner Tang Hkam from Kamaing town. The plants and wild banana trees are almost gone nearby the town, he told The Kachin Post.

The government do nothing to demarcate the pasture lands for elephants, said Daihpa Tawng La, a mahout from Danai Town. The elephant owners in Danai town are worry of the the elephant food would be depleted in a few days and hard to find the natural plants and leaves nearby town. “I’d like the government to officially secure pasture land for elephants,” Tawng La told The Kachin Post.

Hukawng Valley is one of the country’s major habitat for Asian elephants and the government had designated 4000 square kilometres area of the valley for elephant sanctuary. Burma is also a home for the largest numbers of domesticated or captive elephants in the world. Most of the tame elephants are used for logging industry.

The numbers domesticated elephants in Danai has estimated 200 and Kamaing has just over 20. Kamaing town is situated 62 miles west of Kachin State capital Myitkyina and Danai is located 115 miles northwest of Myitkyina.