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Projects in Myanmar

Support of Veterinary Care for Myanmar's Timber Elephants

Chris Reifschneider

An important part of Asian Elephant Support’s (AES) mission is to support veterinary care for elephants in Asian range countries. Through interactions with elephant veterinarians from around Asia during the AES facilitated Regional Asian Elephant Veterinary Workshop held in Banda Aceh, Sumatra-Indonesia in March 2012, AES has made many connections and continues to support the development of veterinary expertise with elephants in Asia.

Ultrasound assessment to detect pregnancy

Ultrasound assessment to detect pregnancy

In December 2012, this networking helped AES facilitate a visit to Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) by several elephant veterinarians and managers. The group’s visit was hosted by the Myanma Timber Enterprise (MTE), a government agency that oversees the care and management of approximately 3000 elephants in Myanmar. This country has a large number of captive elephants that are still used for logging work in the forests.

During the trip, several MTE forest camps around the country were visited; these included logging, training, and rest camps. The overall care and management of these working elephants is closely monitored, and MTE has a large staff of well-qualified veterinarians who were most welcoming, sharing experiences and expertise with the visiting veterinarians. A particular interest for the MTE veterinarians was learning more about the use of ultrasound technology in elephants. One of the AES supported veterinarians brought a field ultrasound unit, enabling practical demonstrations of its use in a variety of medical issues such as detecting pregnancy, evaluating medical conditions such as abscesses or tumors, and assessing some internal organs. The group had numerous fruitful discussions with MTE staff to determine how best to help support ongoing care and management of the elephants in this country.

In addition to facilitating the sharing of professional experiences, AES was pleased to make a contribution enabling the purchase of needed medicines and supplies for the timber elephants of Myanmar, and looks forward to being of further assistance to this important population of Asian elephants.