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Thousands of logging elephants at risk after Myanmar bans timber exports to fight deforestation

SCMP, 20 Feb 2021
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The fate of thousands of domesticated logging elephants hangs in the balance after Myanmar’s government issued an outright ban on timber exports in a bid to fight deforestation. For decades the elephants and their handlers, known as mahouts, have carried out what is considered to be sustainable logging in the forests. But industrial logging that uses heavy machinery has destroyed wildlife habitats as well as the elephants’ workplace and the ability of their mahouts to earn a living. Many mahouts are being left with no choice but to sell their elephants to tourism camps, temples or other places, raising concern about their welfare among animal advocacy groups.

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