It is alarming to note that Asiatic elephants across SE Asia are facing a serious threat showing serious signs of extinction in next 2-3 decades. The skin of Asiatic elephants is being harvested after their indiscriminate poaching for the alarming rise in demands for natural jewellery manufactured from such elephant skin. The helpless animals are poached by highly organized poaching units with sophisticated firearms, latest GPS tracking and high powered communication system like satellite phones and other advanced tracking and./or communication devices. Following that the skin of the animals are removed with precision and exported to China via illegal trade routes for manufacturing special elephant skin beads that are dyed with specific coloring agents and then producing fancy jewellery items fetching high price across illegal wildlife black markets operating in China and SE Asia. A serious irreversible hunting pressure is being exerted across wild Asiatic elephant populations in SE Asia pushing them towards extinction. The situation is worst in Myanmar due to its close proximity to international border with China; and the poaching pressure on wild herds of Asiatic elephants across SE Asia even in remote and inaccessible elephant habitats are raising by leaps and bounds annually. Unless something serious is attempted and that too very soon; the wild herds may bid adieu forever from the region.
Saikat Kumar Basu