ELEPHANT CAMP

22 images Created 29 May 2014

The natural forests in Myanmar are still the primary source for forestry products in the country which is the biggest exporter of teak wood on the planet.
There are signs of an acute risk of deforestation, due to the selective export of logs, especially teak and other hardwoods, the illegal exploiting and wood smuggling. By the middle of the year 2014, in an attempt to stop the fast deforestation of its forests, the Myanmar government will prohibit the export of logs from all tree species (according to the Burmese Ministry of Forest Resources and Environment).
According to official data, in the time period between 1990 and 2010, close to 7.4 million hectare of forest have been lost. The export of 18 300 million cubic metres in this time frame, most of it to China, India and Thailand, brought in over 5700 million dollar revenue.
One of the most vulnerable collectives due to this extreme situation is that of the elephant camps, which, generation after generation have used these animals as a work “machine”, essential in the forests of Myanmar and which will see their activity drastically reduced. Will the country lose the historic figure of the mahout (elephant carer and rider) or oozie (name given to them in Burma) after centuries of hard work? Only time will tell the future of these working elephants and their carers, maybe turning them to a possible touristic use as a new source of income.
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