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Projects in Myanmar

Filtering by Tag: Burma

Elephant Foot Care Session

Vanessa Gagne

Since 2013 Asian Elephant Support has been collaborating and supporting training of staff in elephant camps managed by the Myanma Timber Enterprise (MTE) in Burma (now called Myanmar).  This includes supporting the training of veterinarians, veterinary assistants, camp managers, mahouts, and timber rangers in the camps, and includes topics such as elephant health and husbandry, field navigation with GPS and maps, recording and recordkeeping of data, and exchanges with staff from similar programs in other Asian countries.

To continually improve the management and health care of their captive elephants, MTE conducted a training workshop for veterinarians, veterinary assistants, and mahouts from September 14 to 20, 2015. Invited presenters were Dr. Christopher Stremme, elephant veterinarian from Indonesia and elephant manager Heidi Riddle.  The workshop was facilitated by Dr. Zaw Min Oo, Assistant Manager, MTE Veterinary Services.

The workshop started on September 14 at the MTE training school in Taungoo, Bago region. During the first day lectures were given on differences between Asian and African elephants, captive elephant management in western facilities, training elephants for foot care, elephant foot anatomy and physiology, elephant foot problems and diseases, as well as treatment and prevention. Participants in the session included 18 veterinary assistants and 12 mahouts. From September 15-20 the session was continued in the Phokyar elephant camp close to the town of Taungoo.

During this time practical demonstrations using the camp elephants were given about training elephants for foot care and conducting foot care. From the second day on the participants were divided into 4 groups; two elephants with their mahouts were assigned to each group. The groups were supervised to start training their elephants and to conduct basic foot care procedures. Participants were extremely interested, enthusiastic, and participated very well in the practical activities. By the end of the session all the elephants used during the practical part were able to be handled for basic foot care, and the participants seemed to have gotten a good basic understanding of the principles of elephant foot care. Foot care tools donated earlier in the year by the Elephant Managers Association and by AES were given to all participants of the session and to mahouts from the Phokyar camp to enable them to continue this elephant care after the session ended.

In addition to the Phokyar elephant camp, two other camps (Myaing Hay Wun and Green Hill Valley) managing MTE elephants were visited. Captive elephant management and foot care topics were discussed via presentations and practical demonstrations. Foot care tools were also distributed to mahouts in these camps.

Further collaborations including training and knowledge exchange between elephant management programs and staff from Myanmar and other Asian elephant range countries (i.e. Sumatra-Indonesia) are planned for the future.

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.