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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. While we are all familiar with the

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.




According to Myanmar Times, one anonymous vendor talked to the AFP about the supposed benefits of using dried elephant skin: “Elephant’s skin can cure skin diseases like eczema. You burn pieces of skin by putting them in a clay pot. Then you get the ash and mix it with coconut oil to apply on the eczema.” Another vendor claimed that the same “treatment” would cure pimples and remove black spots. Your face will be smooth and white after you use it.” Is there any truth to these claims? Unlikely, but the myths surrounding traditional medicine are so strong they have led to the demise of countless species.

While Myanmar’s government has attempted to crack down on the black market in Kyaittiyo Pagoda, vendors are often able to learn about the raids ahead of time and have time to hide genuine animal parts from view. According to Antony Lynam, regional adviser at the Wildlife Conservation Society, “We’re in the middle of a crisis. If we’re losing this number it can’t be too many more years before wild elephants are gone.”

To help save elephant populations Myanmar’s government recently announced the launch of new efforts to crack down on poaching by initiating new research on how best to resolve human-wildlife conflict that arises as a result of territory encroachment. They are also working to educate citizen on how they can help contribute to habitat preservation efforts. According to Myanmar Times, “Southeast Asian bloc ASEAN [Association of Southeast Asian Nations] has set up a wildlife enforcement network to stop trafficking and seizures of endangered animal products have been on the rise.” Hopefully, their efforts, along with China’s recent ban on ivory trade, will have a positive impact on elephant populations.

If you want to help put an end to this cruel and ridiculous fad of elephant skin care, share this article. The more people who know about the impact of this trade the better. When the buying stops, so can the killing!

Lead image source: Visanuwit thongon/Shutterstock

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0 comments on “What!? Elephant Skin is Being Sold As a Miracle Cure for Eczema on the Black Market”

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1 Years Ago

There are much better solutions available for eczema than elephant based products. I had eczema on my face and hands. There were so many patches all over my face any itchy rashes on my hands. I met with a skin specialist, and she suggested me foderma serum. After few weeks of use, rashes and itchiness is very less also rashes on my hands are gone. I am still using it for better results definitely recommends it to anyone who is dealing with eczema.

john pasqua
1 Years Ago


1 Years Ago

OMG! I totally agree with Kate. While I believe there are natural homeopathic solutions to aid with the relief of eczema, an elephant based product is never going to be a solution. You don\'t want to catch Hand Foot Mouth disease. Me, I\'ve had a chronic case of eczema for over 10 years now and I\'ve tried every steroid cream prescribed with no lasting effects. After the last 3 years of "trial and error" with other pharmaceutical products, all I have left to show for is a blotch of skin that looks like I shaved off a few layers (it\'s really thin looking). I had to stop the steroid creams and resorted back to thick lotions in the meantime. Fortunately, a few months ago I found a natural solution that actually has been helping me fight eczema (I think for good too). I wouldn\'t have believed it myself as I\'m so jaded by the marketplace, but this natural solution I found actually worked for me. I no longer have a thick patch of red irritated looking skin. It has normalized and has the healing began and has retruned my skin pigmentation back to almost normal. No more dry itching, scab peeling moments. Here\'s the site I found the solution on if you are shopping solutions. Hope it works out for you too. https://goo.gl/gH0sdK

1 Years Ago

And I ask for the second time on One Green Planet-can humans get any more stupid? Even if it did work it does not mean it is the right thing to do. Elephants are not responsible for curing people ailments. Too many are not only stupid but selfish and self centered as well. While some things for animals get better it seems there are always other problems to take their place. Extincion-the only ores who should face that is our own species.


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