Elephant skin for Chinese “medicine”? Stop the killing in Myanmar!

It’s an evil business: Asia’s elephants are being poached for the latest Chinese quack cure: elephant-skin ointments to treat eczema, acne and digestive problems. Speak out for a ban on trade in elephant skin and other body parts!  

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Poached and skinned elephant in Myanmar

Until recently, only male Asian elephants were in danger of being poached for ivory, as the females do not have tusks. Now, the poachers are killing every animal they can find – including females and calves. After the elephants slowly succumb to poisoned arrows, the poachers skin their prey on the spot.

More than 100 elephants are known have been poached in Myanmar since 2013 to meet Chinese demand for elephant skin – a market that didn't exist six years ago that is driven entirely by the criminal energy of southeast Asian elephant poachers.

The survival of the species is at stake if this continues.

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According to a new study, the business is spreading to other countries via Myanmar and China.

A major hub of the elephant-skin trade is the lawless Burmese border town Mong La. It is also flourishing at a market near the Golden Rock, one of Myanmar’s most important Buddhist pilgrimage sites.

The elephant skin is dried, powdered and mixed with coconut oil to make an ointment that is touted as a cure for skin conditions and digestive problems. Traffickers also mix powdered elephant skin and pangolin scales. The skin is also made into jewelry, such as beaded bracelets selling for less than $100.

The criminal business is internationally organized and the authorities turn a blind eye. In Myanmar, elephant poachers face up to seven years in prison, but violations are rarely prosecuted.

China’s policymakers have acknowledged that their country plays a pivotal role in elephant poaching. China has banned the ivory trade and is closing its domestic ivory market, but that is not stopping Chinese citizens from crossing the open border to Myanmar and buying elephant products there.

Tell China and Myanmar to shut down the trade in ivory and other elephant body parts. The survival of Asian elephants depends on it!

 

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