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Elephant poaching crisis in Myanmar

Scientists at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) have found that poaching is an emerging crisis for Asian elephants in Myanmar.

Researchers first became aware of the crisis while conducting an unrelated telemetry study in which they fitted 19 Asian elephants with satellite GPS collars to better understand elephant movements and reduce human-elephant conflict. Seven of those 19 elephants were poached within a year of being fitted with the collars. The findings suggest that human-elephant conflict, which was thought to be the biggest threat to Myanmar’s wild elephants, may be secondary to poaching. And conservation efforts to help the 1,400 to 2,000 wild elephants in Myanmar should prioritize anti-poaching efforts.

For more information, visit the Smithsonian’s National Zoo.