A wild elephant on Sunday rampaged through Lu Thant Inn village in Taikkyi Township, north of the commercial capital Yangon, destroying six houses and a monastery.
“The elephant encroached upon the village in the afternoon,” said Thein Zaw, a local villager whose house was destroyed by the elephant. “Forestry Department officials and captors tried to scare off the wild elephant but it did not leave the village.”
At about 11pm, the elephant turned destructive, he added, causing locals to flee their homes.
“The elephant tore down the houses and devoured rice, salt, fish paste, and dried fish in the houses. For the past five years we have been devastated by wild elephants encroaching into our village. The elephants have destroyed homes and trampled crops.”
Phyo Thu Aung, an elephant veterinarian from a logging firm in nearby Tharrawaddy Township, said he was involved in efforts to shoo away the pachyderm.
“Our team came here to scare off the elephants as per the request of the Forestry Department. The elephant did not leave the village when humans [attempted to] scare it off. So, we are going to bring in trained elephants from an elephant camp.”
He added, “We have to drive the wild elephants far away from this area. This village is just two miles away from the town. If the elephant encroaches upon the highway, it is going to be disastrous.”
Taikkyi Township has seen problems with wild elephants in the past, including an incident in September 2016 in which a man was trampled to death.
At the same time, the poaching of wild elephants— prized for their ivory tusks — remains a concern across several parts of Myanmar.