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Illegal ivory trade increasing in Myanmar

YANGON—Ivory smuggling is on the rise in Myanmar, as elephant tusks are in high demand in the global market, according to a researcher on the subject.

“Simply speaking, smuggling ivory out of the country is increasing. Surveys also show that. As a result, the Forest Department is trying to control it in collaboration with international wildlife preservation organisations,” said the researcher, requesting anonymity. 

An official from the Myanmar Timber Enterprise (MTE) called for systematic measures, stating that the increasing illegal ivory trade is a danger to the nation. 

“MTE alone cannot try to decrease the illegal ivory trade and neither can the Forest Department. All-inclusive cooperation between government bodies, police forces, security staff and local residents is needed to solve the problem. We all should be on the alert for any ivory smuggling cases as a national duty,” said Wan Tun, assistant general manager of the MTE. 

Mongla, a northern Myanmar town near the Chinese border, is reported to be the most common transit spot for ivory smuggling.

More than 3,300 items of ivory products and 50 pieces of elephant tusks have been smuggled out of Mongla, according to the findings of Cambridge-based TRAFFIC and Oxford Brookes University.

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