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May 27, 2019

Plan safety measures to avoid attacks from dangerous animals

  • By San Lwin (Fisheries Department)
A herd of wild elephants raid villages in search of food. Photo: Thwe Thwe Tun

Over the years, news on the fatal cases of death due to the attacks of crocodiles, wild elephants, and deadly consumption of pufferfish appeared very few and only on occasional intervals, but the regrettable and unfortunate incidents are taking more columns in the daily newspapers in February and March of 2019.
An angry and annoyed crocodile attacked and killed a villager in Bogalay Sutkyun Village in February 2019.
Unknowingly and mistakenly consuming toxic pufferfish, two adorable kids died out of six family members in Labutta areas in March 2019.
Running helplessly for safety for life from a wild and waeird elephant, the elder sister was crushed to death, but the younger brother survived in Kawthoung District in March 2019.
With regards to life frightening and hostile incidents by the wildlife animals, the records show that the danger of crocodiles is common in the surrounding of Meinma Hla Kyun in Bogalay Township.
Bogalay area is the home for the crocodiles of saltwater species, and that the mating season usually will begin in February till April. A female crocodile can lay up to 60 eggs at a time. These eggs are large, with a hard shell. They take about three months to hatch. Both sexes can be very territorial as well as aggressive in nature during this period of time.
Risk of attacks run high at the time of mating period and time of lay up of eggs. Therefore, the period turns the area into in danger zone, a time to be alert for the hazard by the workers in fisheries sphere.

Crocodiles normally live in saltwater region of Bogalay area.  Photo: Phoe Khwar

Safety measures in collective term
In order to avoid from the attack of crocodiles, fishery workers should move and work in groups as much as possible.
Available statistics showed that 50 large crocodiles and 100 small crocodiles are moving around Meinma Hla Kyun of Bogalay Township.
The area is the wildlife refuge, also known as a wildlife sanctuary, is a naturally occurring sanctuary that provides protection for wildlife species from hunting, predation, competition or poaching. They normally live near rivers, wetlands and even some saltwater regions.
Wildlife traditionally refers to undomesticated animal species, including animals, birds, water creatures, but has come to include all organisms that grow or live wild in an area without being introduced by humans.
It is yet not extinct; however, the crocodiles are in danger of near extinction. Therefore, the creature named “Ganges Crocodile species” is listed as protected animals, and the remaining crocodiles are listed as normal protected creatures.
Community residing in Yoma Mountains has risk of wild elephants. Danger of wild elephants is reputed in the surrounding of Rakhine Yoma and Bago Yoma, and the adjacent areas such as Taikkyi, Inndakaw and Pathein areas.
Naturally, the wild elephants prefer in staying deep in the jungles away from the human habitats. However, when their grazing grounds for consumption are interrupted and broken up by human being or destroyed due to natural disasters, the animals intruded the farm lands and cultivated areas and put the human beings into harm ways.
Therefore, the villagers residing near to the pathway of elephant’s habitats and trails must stay in alert from the danger of elephants.
For many years, Myanmar maintains and preserves the largest numbers of elephants after India in the Asian Continent. However, the existing number is alarmingly down and the animals are in near extinct.
The two main historical factors behind the decline of elephants was demand for ivory and changes in land-use and it still pose a serious threat to the species. But there has been an upsurge in poaching and illegal ivory trafficking in recent years.
Therefore, elephants are being enlisted as endangered species in the country.
Under the amended law, those who are caught commercially breeding protected wildlife could be punished by up to three years imprisonment and or a fine up K500, 000 (US$320), while those caught for hunting, selling, having in possession, carrying or transferring protected endangered wildlife or their parts face up to five years imprisonment and or a fine of K1 million.
The killing, poaching, hunting, hurting, collecting, selling, possession without approval, carrying or transferring of protected endangered wildlife under total protection or under protection and control against international trade or their parts or derivative materials is punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment.
Following after the killing stuff namely toxic mushrooms, the pufferfish is the number two largest killer among the cases of toxic food consumption in the country.
The family includes many familiar species which are variously called pufferfish, puffers and balloon fish, and they are salt-water species.
All pufferfish species found in Myanmar have heavy toxic called Tetrodotoxin (TTX) embedded in the liver and on the skin tissue. Most of the unfortunate victims in Myanmar happened to have eaten the liver and eggs. Some people curved out the belly portion of the puffer fish before cooking and consumption.
A close friend of the writer told that the Japanese chef delicately prepares very poisonous and very delicious puffer fish. That is why Japanese chefs must train for years before serving the notoriously poison pufferfish to the public. For more than 45 years, chef Sasaki has served this potentially lethal delicacy to patrons in his Tokyo restaurant.
Many consumers in Japan died of toxic annually due to eating pufferfish. One should have to be excused over the death of the victim consuming unknowingly and mistakenly the toxic fish, but those who ate them knowing the risk were the fools who rushed into death in creepy and weird way.

One should not take the risk on sheer luck
Proverbs are profuse in Myanmar with warnings such as that of roaming in the jungle where tigers haunt; and that of stepping on the thorny spikes believing on hero’s luck.
It is advisable that never to risk life in the tigers’ habitat and also stay away from the trail of sharp thorny spikes. Better stay away from tigers’ trails and avoid wetlands where crocodiles crawl.
Warning boards on the dangers of crocodiles are erected by the Environmental Conservation Department in many villages especially in Meimma Hla Kyun in Bogalay Township.
Myanmar has common saying that luck preserves and keeps properties while critical thinking saves life from danger.
The writer of this article sincerely urges all concern in the communities and villages residing near the habitats of crocodiles and wild elephants to stay away from the dangers of wild animals.

Translated by UMT (Ahlon)

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