The Myanmar government has banned timber extraction for a period of one year for the whole country and for 10 years for Bago Yoma hills in central Myanmar.
As a result of this ban, elephant camps under the management of Myanma Timber Enterprise will be turned into elephant-based tourism centres to provide a source of income for 2,500 mahouts and work for more than 3,000 elephants.
Now everyone can visit these elephant camps without getting prior permission from the department, said U Tin Kyaw Moe, deputy manager of Myanma Timber Enterprise’s extraction department.
“The elephant camps existed since before the timber extraction ban by the government. So now we use those elephants for tourism, to fit the changing political situation,” said U Tin Kyaw Moe, who is responsible for Hmaw Yaw Gyi elephant camp.