Myanmar’s wild elephant population is in danger. The population of elephants in the wild is thought to have been halved from 2000-3000 in the past decade along, and according to the Myanmar government, poaching has jumped tenfold. Largely, poachers are driven by a growing demand for ivory, hide, and body parts.
By Kat Smith | One Green Planet
While we are all familiar with the illegal ivory trade, there is a new skin cure fad that has risen in Kyaiktiyo Pagoda, also known as Golden Rock, a well-known Buddhist pilgrimage site located in Mon State, Myanmar. Just steps away from souvenir kiosks lies what has become one of the key hubs in the $20 billion a year global wildlife trade. Hidden in plain site, black market vendors in Kyaitiyo Pagoda openly display endangered animal parts for sale, ranging from ivory and tiger parts and rhino horn to sun bear paws. Among those vendors, a new fad is pulling in followers of traditional medicines: dried elephant skin.
At the largest black market in Southeast Asia, elephant skin is being sold for the price of K5000 (US$3.65) per square inch — a meager price for the life of one of these gentle giants.