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Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos

Better living for Myanmar's gray giants

Nationwide logging ban drives push for elephant ecotourism

Efforts are being made to turn logging camps into tourist sites to address the looming problems of unwanted elephants in the future. (Photo by Fiona MacGregor)

PATHEIN, Myanmar -- "So, do you want to buy an elephant?" Soe Naing is laughing, but not entirely joking. He owns one of the 2,000-plus elephants facing redundancy since the Myanmar government last year clamped down on the logging industry, in which thousands of elephants have toiled for generations.

From Taungoo in Bago region, a few hours' drive north of Yangon, Soe Naing is one of around 30 participants in a week-long workshop in the Ayeyarwady region delta focused on training elephants through positive reinforcement techniques. It is a system new to the country, which practitioners hope will help end the more brutal practices that have traditionally been used to tame elephants in Asia.

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